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Presentation of life membership of CHEA by Speaker Boothroyd to Ken Morgan, former Editor of the Wesminster Hansard and co-founder of the Association

Lorraine Sutherland, Secretary of the Commonwealth Hansard Editors Association and Editor of the House of Commons Hansard at Westminster

Welcome to the website of the Commonwealth Hansard Editors Association. We draw our membership from around the Commonwealth, where the name Hansard symbolises accurate and impartial reporting of the proceedings of democratic Parliaments. Our Association is committed, through a programme of advice and exchange of information, to ensuring that those Parliaments receive reporting services of the highest possible standard.

Lorraine Sutherland, Secretary of the Commonwealth Hansard Editors Association and Editor of the House of Commons Hansard at Westminster

If you have any observations or comments to make about the website, please email: sutherlandl@parliament.uk

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CHEA conference 1996, westminister

CHEA Conference 1996, Westminster

In 1984, Westminster was the birthplace of the Commonwealth Hansard Editors Association – a small grouping of representatives from parliamentary Hansards. Since then, the Association has spread its wings with membership swelling to more than 50 Hansards, with representatives and observers from across the entire Commonwealth and beyond.

The Association constitutes the greatest single body of expertise in parliamentary reporting in the world, and its aims and objectives remain as relevant today as they were in 1984 – to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information to enable the Hansard of each Commonwealth Parliament to serve its legislators as well as possible.

As far back as the early 1970s, the Editors of the Canadian Provincial and Ottawa Parliaments formed a Canadian Hansard Association. At about the same time, their Australian counterparts formed a similar organisation. Both proved to be immensely beneficial in raising standards of reporting and providing a forum for the exchange of the increasingly technical information that forms an essential part of an Editor’s knowledge.

CHEA Conference 1999, KwaZulu-Natal

CHEA Conference 1999, KwaZulu-Natal

In 1981, a number of senior Editors began discussing informally the advantages that might flow from a wider grouping. In the autumn of 1983, the then Westminster Commons Editor, Ken Morgan, suggested the formation of an association of Commonwealth Hansard Editors. The Association was to provide the means of exchanging information on and pooling experience about the rapidly developing technological changes in reporting techniques. As all Editors operate training schemes of one sort or another, it was thought mutually beneficial to compare and co-ordinate thinking.

Each Association member is in a business that is beset by change – changing technology, changing methods and changing demands. In the space of just a few years, Editors have had to embrace multi-media, digital audio, voice recognition, internet and intranet publishing, and a variety of other technologies that were virtually unthought of 10 years ago, but which today are the tools that we use to service our Parliaments.

Above all, Hansard is the chronicle of history. As Speaker Boothroyd said when opening our 1996 conference:

“Behind change lies an unchangeable requirement on you all: the challenge and responsibility to maintain your traditional standards of accuracy and impartiality. That is crucial because accuracy and impartiality are the hallmarks of Hansard. Whatever changes come along, parliamentarians – all of us – look to you to hold fast to those guiding principles.”

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