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CnES Web Search

General Search

The search facility uses the text you enter in the search box to identify any relevant web pages and documents contained within CnES Web. Any combination of words, or a short phrase or question, can be entered into the search box.

By default, results are based on a 'free-text' search. For example, a search for council tax discount will return pages and documents that include some combination of the words council, tax and discount but not necessarily all of them, or as a single phrase. If you wrap your search text in quotes, e.g., "council tax discounts", a more restrictive 'match phrase' search will be carried out, as described below. (The Advance Search option provides a means of further controlling the nature and scope of a search.)

Results are ranked in descending order according to their probable relevance. Pages and documents that contain more, and more frequent occurrences, of the words in your search text, and those where the words are closer together within a page or document, will rank highest.

Committee Reports and Press Releases

By default, committee minutes, agendas and reports, and general press releases, are excluded from the standard search. You can include these by ticking the 'include Committees & Press' checkbox located below the search box.


Advanced Search

At its simplest, a query can be just a word or a phrase but you can control the focus of your query to improve the relevance of a result set.

'Free-text Search'

The default mode is free-text search as described above under General Search. The words in the search text are treated independently, ignoring the order and proximity of the words. Pages and documents are returned that attempt to match the meaning, not the exact wording, of the query.

'Match Phrase'

The 'Match Phrase' option results in the search text being taken literally, treating the word sequence and position as significant. For instance, entering council tax discounts will look for the complete phrase council tax discounts. The proximity of words and the word order is significant: no intervening words, and words must appear in the specified order. In addition, an exact word match is used, e.g., council tax discount would not match council tax discounts)

'Boolean Search'

In boolean search mode, the keywords AND, OR, AND NOT and NEAR can be used to build a search string.

Refine your queries with the AND NOT keywords to exclude certain text from your search. For example, if you want to find all instances of council but not council tax , use council AND NOT tax

Add the OR keyword to find all instances of either one word or another, for example: council OR tax finds all pages that mention council or tax or both.

Use the keyword NEAR, rather than AND, for words close to each other. For example, both of these queries, council and tax and discount and council near tax near discount, look for the words council and tax and discount on the same page. However, with NEAR, the returned pages are ranked in order of proximity, the closer together the words are, the higher the rank of that page.

The wildcard character * can match words with a given prefix, e.g., disc* matches discount, discretionary etc


  • Queries are case-insensitive, so you can type your query in uppercase or lowercase.
  • You can search for any words not classified as stop words (these include a, an, and, as, and other common words), which are ignored during a search.
  • Words in the stop list are treated as placeholders in phrase and proximity queries. For example, if you searched for "Word for Windows", the results could give you "Word for Windows" and "Word and Windows", because for is in the stop list.
  • Punctuation marks such as the period (.), colon (:), semicolon (;), and comma (,) are ignored during a search.