Hansard Department

THE HANSARD DEPARTMENT

Introduction

Hansard is the common name for the printed record of the verbatim Parliamentary Debates. It is derived from Thomas Curson Hansard, the man who is generally credited with first reporting of the debates in the House of Commons in Westminster in 1811, as an unofficial observer. Since then, the Official Report of the House of Commons has been known as Hansard, and the name has been adopted for the official reports of a number of legislatures throughout the world, including Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Hansard follows the principles laid down in 1907, by the House of Commons Select Committee on Parliamentary Debates. “It is a full report, in the first person, of all speakers alike, a full report being defined as one which, though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument”.

Purpose

The Department is responsible for producing verbatim reports of Parliamentary proceedings which are debates of the National Assembly/Senate and reports of Committees and Public Hearings.

Production of Hansard

When Parliament is in session, Hansard Reporters are scheduled on a duty roster to do ten minute ‘takes’ each. Members’ speeches, including vernacular delivery are recorded through the digital recording system. The captured material is transcribed in 40 minutes into legible English (normal ‘take’ is 3 pages).

For members to satisfy themselves that the report of their speech is accurate, each member is supplied with a typescript of their contribution in either House so that they can check on the accuracy of the report. Attached to each typescript is a slip with the member’s name and the time by which any suggested corrections of speeches should be revised and submitted to the Editor for incorporation into the consolidated document.

*The revision of speeches by members must be confined to grammatical mistakes, errors in names, figures and no additions should be made which would profoundly change what was said in the House. Members are not permitted to add new matter or delete any statements made.

The Hansard is produced overnight and should be delivered by the Printer to Parliament by 9a.m. the following morning. Hon. Members are urged to read the copy and contact the Editor if there are any corrections for final entry in the Bound Volume.

Production Process

[Note: Official Report, Unrevised – on Hansard copy]. Copy is produced procedurally according to the Hansard ‘House Style’. Though the reporter is the most noticeable in the production chain and indeed a key player in producing the Hansard Booklet, many other players contribute to the successful production of the copy. The chain is as follows:

MP --->Interpreter--->Reporter--->Amalgamation--->Editor--->/MP--->Reporter/Amalgamation--->Printer

The distribution of the Hansard is done by the Public Relations Department, Third Floor, Pax House.

Need To Know

  • Queries that come after the Hansard has been printed can only be incorporated in the Bound Volume or through a corrigendum or an addendum.
  • Members are encouraged to speak in moderation for audibility and easier capturing by Reporters. Members who make contributions in the vernacular are also encouraged to pause from time to time to allow interpreters to keep pace with them.
  • Members who have written speeches are encouraged to hand them to the Reporter in the House at that time or to the Editorial team to enhance accuracy.
  • Should any speech be marked “not recorded due to technical fault”, what it means is that the speech was not recorded through the digital recording system. This is caused by technical faults beyond the control of Reporters.
  • The Hansard can be accessed on the Parliament website 3 to 4 hours after adjournment of the House(s).
  • Any queries pertaining to the Hansard should be directed to the Director Hansard.
Administration Directorates Journals & House Procedures Directorate Hansard Department