Preparation of the printed copy of Parliamentary Proceedings and preparation of verbatim reports of meetings of Parliamentary Committees is the responsibility of the Hansard Department.
The Hansard Department consists of the Editor of Hansard, Deputy Editors, Assistant Editors, Senior Hansard Reporters and Hansard Reporters. It also has a Committee Reporters’ Unit, an Indexing Officers’ Unit and a Recording Assistants’ Unit.
The editorial staff of the Hansard Department consist of one Deputy Editor for each language stream (Sinhala/Tamil/English), 5 English Assistant Editors, 5 Sinhala Assistant Editors, and 1 Tamil Assistant Editor. The Hansard Reporting staff consists of 18 English Hansard Reporters, 18 Sinhala Hansard Reporters and 5 Tamil Hansard Reporters.
Every audible word uttered during Parliamentary Debates is reported and transcribed by Hansard Reporters and submitted for overlooking and correction to the Assistant Editors. The corrected version is then submitted to the Deputy Editors of each stream, who once again peruse the corrected proceedings and make further corrections they consider desirable.
All proceedings thereafter go to the Editor who is responsible for the final product which is sent to the Government Printer for publication.
The initial printing which is referred to as the “uncorrected” version is made available to the Members and the public. The Hansard Department, however, subsequently proofreads the uncorrected version and gets it printed and sends it for final binding with the indexes included.
In addition to reporting House proceedings, the Hansard Reporters also cover Committee proceedings along with the Committee Reporters.
The Indexing Unit consists of five officers. Their main duties are to prepare a permanent Index for the Hansard and maintain a time record of the speeches of every member and the current index.
The Recording Unit consists of six officers. Their main duties are to audio-record the House and Committee proceedings.
The Committee Reporters’ Unit comprises of 15 officers. Their main duty is to report proceedings of Committees, viz. COPE, PAC, High Posts, Select Committees and special Consultative Committees.