House of Commons
The Westminster Parliament is a bicameral institution, consisting of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The first English Parliament was established in 1215, following the signing of Magna Carta, but it became the British Parliament in 1707, following the Acts of Union.
The Official Report was established later, with the first reports of proceedings appearing in the early 19th century. At first, Hansard was a private business, independent of Parliament. Following financial problems, it was brought into the House of Commons in 1909.
Hansard took its name from the family of printers who took over publishing reports of debates in 1812, and the name is used for many parliamentary reports across the globe. Records on the Hansard website go back to 1802.
Turns, lists and checknotes
Sittings of the Commons Chamber and Westminster Hall are published on a rolling basis on hansard.parliament.uk, with a target of publication online within three hours. Reporters work on a list system, acting as a checknote for the reporter before them in the list and then logging their own turn. Westminster Hall is reported in 10-minute turns. The main Chamber is normally reported in five-minute turns, with a set of 10-minute turns completed once a day to facilitate breaks. Sittings of Bill Committees and Delegated Legislation Committees in the Commons are published as soon as possible (usually overnight).
The Commons Official Report staff is made up of (FTE): nine administrative staff, 24 parliamentary reporters, 16 House reporters, 16 Committee sub-editors, nine managing editors, the deputy Editor and the Editor of the Official Report. We also have three in the Annunciator team and six in the Broadcasting Unit.
Reporting, publishing and editing
Reporters have 45 minutes to submit a five-minute turn and 90 minutes for a 10-minute turn. Sub-editors log Committee sittings. One sub-editor is the lead sub for each sitting and has responsibility for providing procedural and style guidance and for publishing sections. Committee turns are done by parliamentary reporters. Those turns are then collected and edited by sub-editors.