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The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the new body incorporating Her Majesty's Stationery Office (usually abbreviated as HMSO). Like its predecessor, OPSI is part of the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom and it is responsible for Crown Copyright.

OPSI announced on June 21, 2006 that it was merging with The National Archives to create a joined-up approach to information management within government. This merger will take place in October 2006. All OPSI roles and responsibilities will continue from within The National Archives.

Controller of OPSIEdit

The Controller of OPSI holds the offices of Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament, Queen's Printer for Scotland and Government Printer for Northern Ireland. Due to the Controller holding those offices OPSI publishes the London Gazette, Edinburgh Gazette, Belfast Gazette and all legislation in the United Kingdom, including Acts of Parliament, Acts of the Scottish Parliament and Statutory Instruments.

It is a common misconception that the Controller of OPSI also holds the office of Queen's Printer. This office is separate from the functions of OPSI and is connected with the rights to print, publish and import the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer within England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The current holder of this office is Cambridge University Press.

HistoryEdit

HMSO was established as a new department of HM Treasury on 5 April 1786, when John Mayor was appointed as its first "Superintendent". From 1822, all government departments were required to buy stationery through the open competitions and tenders operated by HMSO. HMSO also took over as official publisher from Hansard in 1882. In 1889, HMSO was granted Letters Patent under which it was appointed as Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament ("printer to Her Majesty of all Acts of Parliament"). These letters patent also appointed the Controller of HMSO as administrator of the rights of Crown copyright. HMSO also took over publication of the London Gazette in the same year.

Most of its publishing functions were privatised in 1996 as a separate company known as The Stationery Office (TSO), but HMSO continued as a separate part of the Cabinet Office. Prior to 1996, it was the publisher of virtually all government material, such as Command papers, legislation and official histories. After 1996 the Controller of HMSO remained Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament and retained the role of administering Crown copyright.

As part of the implementation of the European Union directive on the re-use of public sector information, HMSO was renamed as the OPSI on 16 May 2005. The renaming was said to reflect the wider nature of the duties the organisation would then undertake.

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