About

Governance

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The Hansard Society is a charity and our governance rules are set out in our Articles of Association. The Society is governed by a Board of Trustees and the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament are honorary Co-Presidents. Our Annual Reports and Accounts provide our financial records and an assessment of our work in the previous calendar year.

Charitable status

The Hansard Society is a charitable company limited by guarantee in England and Wales. It was incorporated on 25 August 1999 and registered as a charity on 17 December 1999.

The company was established under a Memorandum of Association which established the objects and powers of the charitable company. The company is governed under its Articles of Association.

Legal responsibility for the management and stewardship of the Hansard Society is vested in the Board of Trustees. Day-to-day management of the Charity is delegated to the Director and senior staff. The Society’s auditors are haysmacintyre.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meets at least four times per year. The Society does not operate standing sub-committees but convenes these on an ad hoc basis as required.

The Rt Hon the Baroness Taylor of Bolton is the current Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Trustees are elected and co-opted under the terms of the Articles of Association. The Chair and Treasurer are appointed on a yearly basis at the Annual General Meeting. Other members of the Board of Trustees are appointed for terms of three years, after which they may put themselves forward for reappointment for a further three-year term. In some circumstances, Trustees may be co-opted for a further period.

Honorary Co-Presidents

Underpinning our commitment to non-partisanship, the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament - the House of Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker - serve as Co-Presidents of the Society.

These are honorary positions, reflecting the Society’s unique ‘critical friend’ relationship with the Westminster Parliament.

The Speakers are very supportive of the work of the Society, but they have no formal role in or responsibility for its administration, governance or activities. However, the House of Commons Deputy Speaker (Chair of Ways and Means) regularly chairs the Society's Annual General Meetings on behalf of the Commons Speaker.

Annual Reports and Accounts

Annual Report and Accounts Year to 31 December 2020

The year 2020 was an extraordinarily challenging one, during which every aspect of our work was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Read our latest Annual Report to:

  • discover what impact the pandemic had on our international Hansard Scholars programme;

  • find out how we monitored the government's use of emergency powers to tackle the pandemic;

  • learn about our proposals for a 'virtual' Parliament and our critique of the government's approach to scrutiny during the health crisis.

Annual Report and Accounts Year to 31 December 2019

2019 was an eventful year, with the ongoing Brexit process, the unlawful prorogation of Parliament and an early general election late in the year. Read our latest Annual Report to:

  • learn what our latest Audit of Political Engagement told us about public frustrations with the state of our democracy;

  • find out how our Director, Ruth Fox's co-commentary on the Brexit votes contributed to the highest ever audience ratings for BBC Parliament;

  • catch up on the hustings we co-hosted in partnership with House Magazine for the election of the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Annual Report and Accounts Year to 31 December 2018

Brexit continued to dominate the work of Parliament - and thus also the Society's research activity - throughout the year. Read our latest Annual Report to:

  • learn about the amendments we proposed for the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to improve the scrutiny arrangements for future Brexit-related regulations;

  • discover more about our new Statutory Instrument Tracker, a web app we developed to track the progress of Statutory Instruments through Parliament;

  • find out which distinguished academics and commentators contributed to Britain Votes 2017, the special election edition of our journal, Parliamentary Affairs.

Annual Report and Accounts Year to 31 December 2017

The unexpected announcement of an 8 June general election led to a significant reorganisation of our work for the remainder of the year. Read out latest Annual Report to:

  • find out how we updated our toolkits for schools to enable them to run a Mock Elections programme to give pupils of all ages an insight into how the democratic process works;

  • learn how public attitudes to politics changed (or not) in the aftermath of the EU referendum in our latest Audit of Political Engagement;

  • discover what we learnt about political engagement in workshops with disengaged groups in low-turnout constituencies across the country.

Annual Report and Accounts Year to 31 December 2016

The year was dominated by June's EU referendum campaign and then consideration of its implications in the aftermath of the result. Read our latest Annual Report to:

  • learn about the first public discussion we hosted about the challenges the referendum result would pose for Parliament;

  • find out about the official hustings we hosted for the election of the Lords Speaker in the House of Lords;

  • discover why we hosted a mini-conference exploring whether and how technology might transform the way we make laws.