The indexes include entries covering:
- The content of all material recorded in Hansard, including debates, procedural motions and questions.
- The names of all Members contributing to the Parliamentary business recorded in Hansard.
- The names of some types of Parliamentary business whenever they occur in Hansard. These are `Ministerial
statements', `Business statements', `Opposition days' and `Estimates days'.
- All headings are in one word-by-word alphabetical sequence, with Members' contribution entries
distinguished from other entries by italics.
- Where a Member contributes to Parliamentary business and is the subject of Parliamentary business there
are separate contribution and subject entries, the subject entry coming first.
- Entries beginning `Mac' and `Mc' are sorted in one sequence as `Mac'.
- `St', when abbreviated for Saint, is filed as `Saint'.
- Numbers are filed as if spelt out, e.g. `10 Downing Street' as if `Ten Downing Street'.
Choice of headings
- Specificity--Entries summarise the overall content of a debate or question as specifically as the various POLIS
thesauruses allow. For example, Education, Higher education, Universities or the name of a particular university
is used depending on the breadth of the item.
- Name headings--Specific entries are included for the names of people, places, institutions, organisations,
committees, programmes, initiatives, publications and legislation when these constitute the overall subject of
- Organisations and subjects--Organisation entries are preferred for material about the general performance,
administration and staffing of an organisation (for example, United Kingdom Passports Agency, Standards).
Subject entries are preferred for what organisations do as part of their duties (for example, Passports, Fees and charges).
- Subject headings--Subject headings are assumed to refer to the whole of England, Great Britain or the United Kingdom unless otherwise stated.
- Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales--Material relating to the whole of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
is indexed under these headings.
- Places within the UK--Material about specific towns, areas and institutions is entered under the name of the
specific town, area or institution.
- Foreign countries--Most material relating to foreign countries is collected under the name of that country.
Some additional material may be found under the names of--groups of countries, areas within countries,
geographical features, place names associated with particular issues, politicians and heads of state, international
bodies, and institutions and companies operating in those countries.
- EC/EU material--General material about the European Communities and European institutions as bodies is
entered under `European Communities' and `EC institutions'. Organisational material about specific
communities and institutions is entered under the name of the body, for example `European Coal and Steel
Community' or `European Parliament'. Material about what the Communities and institutions are doing or
propose to do is entered under various subject headings beginning `EC' such as `EC environmental policy'.
Parliamentary material and business
- Material about Parliament--This is indexed under `Parliament', the names of the two Houses, the `Palace of
Westminster' and parts of the Parliamentary estate (such as `Portcullis House').
- Committees--Material about committees is indexed under `Committees', types of committee (such as `Select
committees') and the names of individual committees (such as `Home Affairs Select Committee').
- Parliamentary proceedings/procedures--Material discussing these is indexed under the specific type of
proceeding (such as `Parliamentary questions' or `Oral questions'), procedure (such as `Calling of Members')
or issue (such as `Unparliamentary expressions').
- Legislation--Entries for Parliamentary proceedings on bills and statutory instruments are entered under their
titles. Where the lead word of the bill or statutory instrument does not provide a full or clear indication of the
subject there are additional subject entries when the bill or instrument is debated. For example, debates on the
`Child Support Pensions and Social Security Bill' have entries under `Pensions' and `Social security benefits'
as well as under the title of the Bill.
- Members' names--These are given in the form by which the Member prefers to be known.
- Speaker and Chair--Contributions by the Speaker and deputies are brought together under the heading `Speaker
and deputies'. Contributions from the chair during Committees of the Whole House are brought together under
`Chairman of Committee of the Whole House'. Significant rulings and statements (as opposed to routine
comments) are indicated by the sub-heading `Rulings and statements' in both cases.
Guidance on headings
- Cross references--`See' references indicate all the material has been entered under another heading. `See also'
references indicate that additional information may be found under another heading.
- Concept thesaurus--A copy of the subject thesaurus to POLIS, listing the concept entries used in the index, is
available on the Parliamentary website. A hard copy is available from the Head of the POLIS Unit, House of
Commons Library, 1 Derby Gate, London, SW1A 2DG (020 7219 6456).
- References in the indexes are to columns rather than pages.
- References to debates, but not questions, are accompanied by the date of the item.
- There are separate sequences in Hansard for the material taken on the floor of the House, Westminster Hall
sittings and written questions:
- References consisting of a number by itself indicate material taken on the floor of the House.
- References ending in `wh' indicate Westminster Hall sittings.
- References ending in `w' indicate written questions.
- References under all headings except the names of Members contributing to Parliamentary business and the
titles of legislation are listed in one numerical sequence irrespective of whether the material is taken on the
floor of the House, is discussed at a Westminster Hall sitting or is a written question.
- References under the names of Members contributing to Parliamentary business and the titles of legislation are
listed in numerical sequence under the following headings:
- Debates etc. (which includes interventions and points of order as well as significant contributions to
- Sittings in Westminster Hall (covering all debates held as part of the Westminster Hall sittings); and
- Questions (which includes written, oral and private notice questions).
The following abbreviations are used in connection with the progress of bills:
- 1R=First reading
- 2R=Second reading
- Com=Committee stage
- Rep=Report stage
- 3R=Third reading
- *=matter taken formally without debate or division.