Send usersA letter

The Home Office sends printed letters in the post to tell users:

  • what is happening with their claim or application
  • what they need to do next

All letters should be clear and easy to act on.

When to use this pattern

Use this pattern to tell users what has happened with their claim or application.

Use GOV.UK Notify to send letters in the post where possible.

When not to use this pattern

Do not use this pattern for letters that are:

  • not part of a service - such as official letters from ministers
  • attached to emails

Make sure you understand what letters are used for and who usually writes and approves them. Speak to your policy contact if you are not sure.

What to include in a letter

Each letter should have:

  • a clear sender with an official logo, contact address and signature
  • a reference number and details of when and how to use it
  • the full name of the recipient so they trust it is authentic
  • a main header summarising the outcome or action
  • a concise description of the outcome or action - use lists to break up content
  • a header summarising next steps
  • a concise description of next steps - again, lists may help break up actions if there are several
  • page numbers or 'end of letter' in the footer so they know they have read everything
  • any standard paragraphs below the signature so they do not distract from the main message of the letter

Main page content

  1. block: header
    1. left element: logo
    2. left element: recipient address
    3. left element: date
    1. right element: contact or return details
  2. block: main message
    1. element: main header

      Main header summarising outcome or action

    2. element: reference number

      Include when and how to use the reference number

    3. element: recipient name

      Dear first name and last name,

    4. element: summary

      Summarise the outcome or action.

      • Lists can help make multiple outcomes or actions more readable
  3. block: next steps
    1. element: next steps header

      Header summarising next steps

    2. element: next steps description

      Concise description of what the user needs to do or where to go for ongoing support or advice.

      • Lists can help make multiple outcomes or actions more readable
  4. block: signature

    Yours sincerely,


  5. block: page number

    Page number or 'End of letter'

Additional letter content

Include extra information on additional pages.

  1. block: standard content

    Standard paragraphs not directly relevant to task, such as:

    • data protection
    • legal rights
  2. block: page number

    Page number or 'End of letter'


Some of our users will not speak English as a first language and literacy levels may vary. The content should be written to be clear and understandable for all and avoid jargon or over-complicated legal text.

Make sure you ask users whether they want to receive a letter or whether an alternative type of communication, like an email, would be better.

The letter should:

  • use Arial font, or another sans-serif font
  • use font size at least 12
  • left-align English text, and other left to right languages
  • right-align text that is read right to left
  • not use italics
  • use sentence case and not block capitals

If your service uses this pattern, let us know of any insights you have on accessibility considerations.


The insights that informed this model came from multiple services across the Home Office including:

  • Refugee Integration Loans
  • Penalty notices
  • Atlas caseworking system
  • EU Settlement Scheme
  • Home Office HR system

If you have evidence this also works for your users, you can contribute to our backlog.

Help us improve this pattern

This pattern needs improving. We need evidence about:

  • how you've used this template to design a letter
  • any other accessibility considerations
  • design differences if the letter is sent by email

To contribute, add your thoughts and research findings to our GitHub discussion, or follow our contribute guidance.