How Hansard charges £8k a year for interns


4:31 pm - April 16th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

The Hansard Society has come under fire after claims it charges undergraduates £8000 a year for an internship, which the political charity calls a scholarship.

The issue was highlighted by journalism student Maya Esslemont, who wrote on her blog that the TUC has condemned the organisation for limiting the opportunity to an exclusive group of young adults.

Gail Bumbury, programme manager of the scholarship at the Hansard Society told Maya Esslemont:

I wouldn’t say the scholarship is geared towards working class people per say. It’s aimed at foreign students who want to learn more about British politics”.

When asked if the opportunity was limited to international students alone, Bumbury replied: “No. It is open to anyone who decides to apply.

The Hansard Society is a registered charity, which has in the past year received support from BBC Parliament, the Cabinet Office, Speaker of the House, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Microsoft, Ministry of Justice, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons.

The Hansard Society hit back over the weekend, saying it doesn’t charge for internships.

A statement emailed to this blog by its Chief Executive Fiona Booth said:

For 20 years we have run an academic study programme aimed at understanding of the British political system. Hundreds of undergraduates and post-graduate students from around the world have participated in our Hansard Scholars Programme, which involves a study course in association with a leading university and internships with relevant NGOs, Parliament and other organisations. Interns do not work at the Hansard Society.

The cost for this 11-week academic programme includes all academic tuition and student fees, accommodation in central London and unlimited travel by tube and bus in central London, plus visits to the devolved legislatures and many other activities.

So does it run an internship or a scholarship? Is there a big difference and is the cost justified?

Maya Esslemont told me the Hansard Society is being disingenuous.

She says the representatives she talked to from Hansard casually used the term ‘internship’ and ‘scholarship’ interchangeably, indicating “that the internship opportunity was the scholarship’s biggest pulling factor.”

She says the Hansard Society confirmed to her that the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and BBC Parliament do not offer internships to those outside of the Hansard Society scholarship programme, which costs £8000 without exception.

The press release fails to mention that they have a complete monopoly over political internships because a summer workplacement with a Parliamentary body is completely dependent on an £8000 payment to their charity.

So the Hansard Society calls it a scholarship, but given that it is linked tightly to an exclusive internship – poorer students are limited to the latter by default.

Maya Esslemont is on Twitter here.

Update: Hansard have sent us another statement

We do not offer internships or scholarships for £8,000. We offer a long-standing academic study programme. The cost for this includes all academic fees, accommodation and travel in central London (for 11 weeks) visits to the devolved legislatures and other activities and also includes an internship with a relevant organisation. The original blog posting has confused this academic study programme with a one-off partial scholarship which we have offered this year (from Hansard Society reserve funds) to any student who matches the necessary academic achievements for the study programme but does not have sufficient funding to undertake the programme. This is open to anybody with the relevant academic background.

The Hansard Society does not have any influence over internships offered by the House of Commons, House of Lords, BBC Parliament or any other organisation. They can (and do) offer internships to a wide variety of programmes and individuals according to their own rules – which are nothing to do with the Hansard Society.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: a) Section ,News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Steven is just coming

This really is poor, Sunny.

“The Hansard Society has come under fire after claims it charges undergraduates £8000 a year for an internship, which the political charity calls a scholarship.”

You + an undergraduate at the University of Kent with 70 odd Twitter followers isn’t fire. That’s a couple of people sounding off.

“The Hansard Society hit back over the weekend, saying it doesn’t charge for internships.”

That’s because it doesn’t. It charges for scholarships, and the pair of you are spinning away like tops.

“So does it run an internship or a scholarship? Is there a big difference and is the cost justified?”

Sentence 1: It’s structured like a teaching course. It’s a scholarship.
Sentence 2: Yes, there’s a big difference. Yes, the cost is justified if mugs are willing to pay for it.

“She says the representatives she talked to from Hansard casually used the term ‘internship’ and ‘scholarship’ interchangeably, indicating “that the internship opportunity was the scholarship’s biggest pulling factor.””

So this whole manufactured fuss is about semantics?

“She says the Hansard Society confirmed to her that the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and BBC Parliament do not offer internships to those outside of the Hansard Society scholarship programme, which costs £8000 without exception.

The press release fails to mention that they have a complete monopoly over political internships because a summer workplacement with a Parliamentary body is completely dependent on an £8000 payment to their charity.”

Bollocks. The Civil Service run an extensive scheme aimed specifically at people from BME and disadvantaged backgrounds.

You know that a post is useful when some witless anonymous troll – often with a jolly hilarious name, honest – fetches up and starts off with “weak” or “poor”.

And so disappointing, too. I was so looking forward to “But … but … but … THE GUARDIAN!”

Bit sad, really, having nothing to do but troll LC. Still, keeps the faculties from total atrophy for those concerned. Mustn’t grumble.

3. Steven is just coming

If it cheers you up, Tim, I’m not Harry Cole.

Steven…. lame lame lame

You + an undergraduate at the University of Kent with 70 odd Twitter followers isn’t fire. That’s a couple of people sounding off.

You missed the quote from the TUC. First mistake.

It charges for scholarships, and the pair of you are spinning away like tops.

Thanks, but the article points out the distinction. Second mistake.

Yes, the cost is justified if mugs are willing to pay for it.

We know this already. The point is that it restricts poorer students. Third mistake.

The Civil Service run an extensive scheme

Who is talking about the civil service? Different institution. Fourth mistake.

Really. If you’re going to troll then at least try being more effective.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. @GrannyWils

    'How Hansard Society charges £8000 a year for internships' http://t.co/QsKY8a1g – good investigation by @messlemont

  2. Luke Crawley

    Hansard reporting on Parliament should be paying the minimum wage and offering internships to all http://t.co/OVHlooW1

  3. etonmess

    'How Hansard Society charges £8000 a year for internships' http://t.co/QsKY8a1g – good investigation by @messlemont

  4. CITIZEN MAX

    'How Hansard Society charges £8000 a year for internships' http://t.co/QsKY8a1g – good investigation by @messlemont

  5. sunny hundal

    'How Hansard Society charges £8000 a year for internships' http://t.co/QsKY8a1g – investigation by @messlemont (from earlier)

  6. TeresaMary

    'How Hansard Society charges £8000 a year for internships' http://t.co/QsKY8a1g – investigation by @messlemont (from earlier)

  7. Hannah M

    How Hansard charges £8k a year for interns | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/j8G7XU4X via @libcon

  8. Adrian Tippetts

    'How Hansard Society charges £8000 a year for internships' http://t.co/QsKY8a1g – investigation by @messlemont (from earlier)

  9. Paul Evans

    How Hansard charges £8k a year for interns http://t.co/M48gOKPB <<< surprised and disappointed by this.

  10. TheCreativeCrip

    How Hansard charges £8k a year for interns http://t.co/M48gOKPB <<< surprised and disappointed by this.

  11. Andy Hicks

    How Hansard charges £8k a year for interns | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GT2dFipd via @libcon Great exlclusive. Disgusting behaviour.

  12. keith ferguson

    How Hansard charges £8k a year for interns | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/GT2dFipd via @libcon Great exlclusive. Disgusting behaviour.

  13. Jill

    My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work. That's right you PAY to go to work. http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  14. Mabel Horrocks

    My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work. That's right you PAY to go to work. http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  15. John

    “@Redpeter99: My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work That's right you PAY to go to work http://t.co/55rWYBdM”

  16. Peter Smith

    How can working class kids from, say, Park End or Liverton Mines hope to get on in life if they have to pay to work? http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  17. Brian Tomkinson

    How can working class kids from, say, Park End or Liverton Mines hope to get on in life if they have to pay to work? http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  18. Ferret Dave

    How can working class kids from, say, Park End or Liverton Mines hope to get on in life if they have to pay to work? http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  19. Hackney Diamond

    My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work. That's right you PAY to go to work. http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  20. Mark

    My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work. That's right you PAY to go to work. http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  21. Andy

    My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work. That's right you PAY to go to work. http://t.co/ubu2lHom

  22. Mary Palmer

    My world has imploded. The Hansard Society charges interns to work. That's right you PAY to go to work. http://t.co/ubu2lHom





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.