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IPRS - Intersteno parliamentary reporting section.

The aim of IPRS is to enable parliamentary reporters to co-operate via a professional organisation through which they can work to improve the services they provide to democratic parliaments, both national and federal, throughout the world. This is of increasing importance as new technology revolutionises the traditional methods of producing and publishing the verbatim reports of parliamentary proceedings.

Since the 32nd Congress of 1977 in Rotterdam the International Federation of Intersteno has been involved with parliamentary reporting. In Rotterdam, and at every succeeding meeting, one of the congress sessions has been dedicated to this subject. A number of parliaments have enabled their reporters to participate.
In 1981, at the 34th congress in Mannheim, a report was presented dealing with the structure and working methods of parliamentary reporting services in 22 countries, based on an inquiry, conducted by Friedrich-Ludwig Klein (Germany) and Cees van Beurden (the Netherlands). A supplementary report was presented in 1983 during the 35th congress in Lucerne. In the following years the need for more regular professional contact became apparent. In 1989, during the 38th congress in Dresden, Fausto Ramondelli and Peter Walker took the initiative in developing a plan to create within the framework of Intersteno a section for parliamentary reporters. Following discussion the Central Committee of 1990 in Pula agreed with the proposal. During the 39th congress in Brussels Fausto Ramondelli delivered a speech in which he emphasised the significance of a section for parliamentary reporting services.
In 1993, during the 40th congress in Istanbul, when reporting services from 24 countries were represented, the Intersteno Parliamentary Reporters' Section (IPRS) was founded and the rules of the section were approved by the Central Committee. A provisional coordinating committee was installed with Fausto Ramondelli as coordinator. During the inaugural meeting in Istanbul it was agreed, that as many parliaments as possible would be invited to allow their reporting services join IPRS. It was decided to elect the coordinating committee at the next congress. Moreover it was agreed that a number of projects should be initiated on the following themes: new technology, productivity, health and safety, quality standards, recruitment and training and the production of a regular news bulletin for all member services. In 1994 Cees van Beurden, as president of Intersteno, sent letters to more than 100 parliaments. Fausto Ramondelli, as coordinator of IPRS, sent letters to the parliamentary reporters together with a questionnaire.

In 1995, during the 41st congress in Amsterdam, the members of the coordinating committee were elected for the first time. The elected committee consisted of Peter Walker (United Kingdom, (coordinator)), Agneta Entröm (Sweden), Wolfgang Behm (Germany), Teresa Benavides (Spain), Anne Grete Orten (Norway), Rien Keukelaar (the Netherlands) and Karl Gutzler (Secretary-General of Intersteno). For the first time a special session of the congress was set aside for parliamentary reporters and the discussion of the themes set out above.& This tradition continued at subsequent congresses. A number of bulletins was published and distributed to members of IPRs.

The 44th congress was held in Rome, when the following were elected as members of the coordinating committee: Paul Hadlow (United Kingdom, (coordinator)), Wolfgang Behm (Germany), Anne Grete Orten (Norway), Evitta Friedrich (Austria), Maria Gudjonsdottir (Iceland), Milagros Hidalgo (Spain) and Danny Devriendt (Secretary/Treasurer of Intersteno). Publication of regular bulletins laspsed, but now that we are in the era of Internet the aim is to distribute news about IPRS in the electronic newsletter Intersteno e-news and to send this to as many individual parliamentary reporters for whom we have an e-mail address. This will also be sent to court reporters.

In the last few years, as new democracies have been created in Europe, new parliamentary reporting services have been created. In addition, existing parliamentary reporting organisations have undergone reorganisation, thanks to the new techniques for capturing the spoken word and the availability of electronic publishing.  The drive for increased efficiency and value for money has also wrought many changes. Within the membership of IPRS there resides a vast reservoir of experience and knowledge. Our aim is to ensure that this is used to promote the cause of democratic government.


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