About the Hansard Society

The Hansard Society is an independent, non-partisan political research and education organisation, working in the UK and around the world to promote democracy and strengthen Parliaments.

For more information about the Hansard Society please visit our website at: www.hansardsociety.org.uk

What we do

Founded in 1944, we are a charity working in the UK and around the world to promote democracy and strengthen parliaments. An independent, non-partisan political research and education Society our work is devoted to:

1. Exploring the evolution of representative democracy: offering evidence-based ideas for reform of political and parliamentary institutions, processes and culture to help foster democratic renewal. Our key projects include the Audit of Political Engagement, the only annual health on British democracy. We also publish the quarterly journal, Parliamentary Affairs which includes some of the leading research of the day on representative democracy worldwide.

2. Educating citizens, particularly young people: so that they have the knowledge and confidence to play an active role in our democracy and be future leaders in civic and political life. In addition to Mock Elections we also run Young People's Question Time at Westminster each year during Parliament Week.

3. Connecting citizens with parliamentarians and policy-makers: through innovative on and off-line initiatives to address the democratic deficit. Our award-winning Lords of the Blog is the only cross-chamber blog by parliamentarians anywhere in the world and we are working with partners across Europe to develop a new Sense4us online tool to support policy development and scrutiny in Whitehall and Westminster.

4. Convening debate on topical political issues: providing a non-partisan forum for the exchange of ideas about our democratic future. We convened the first ever public hustings for the election of the Speaker of the House of Commons, regular lectures by the Speaker and the Leader and Shadow Leaders of the House, as well as a vibrant range of Democracy Forums on the big issues of the day.

Our history

The Hansard Society was established in 1944 to promote the ideals of the parliamentary system of government and to ensure that democracy would be safeguarded by being understood, debated and improved by parliamentarians and the public. Our first members were Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, and since then the Prime Minister of the day and leaders of the main opposition parties have all publicly supported our work. Today, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker serve as our Co-Presidents, underlining our non-partisanship. More than 70 years on, the Hansard Society is universally recognised as the leading independent, non-partisan authority on Parliament in Britain today.

Supporting the Hansard Society

We have a diverse funding base which serves to protect our independence and generate around two-thirds of our annual income through the Society’s services, particularly our international education programme and the sale of our quarterly journal and other publications. As a non-profit organisation, this income is then re-invested in our research and education projects and our wide-ranging public events programme. It also helps us to undertake a substantial amount of non-funded work such as providing evidence and advisory support to parliamentary committees and other public inquiries both at home and abroad. Some of our projects are supported through individual donations and grants from charitable trusts, foundations, research councils, parliaments and government departments, and corporate sponsors. Further information and our annual accounts are available on our website.

Funding for Mock Elections in 2015 was provided thanks to a generous legacy donation from one of our late supporters, Mrs Cynthia Campbell-Savours.