Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments

SCAT
Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments
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About the Society

The Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments exists to:

  1. Provide a means by which the Parliamentary practice of various Legislative Chambers of the Commonwealth may be made more accessible to Clerks-at-the-Table, or those having similar duties, in any such Legislature in the exercise of their professional duties; and
  2. Foster among Officers of Parliament a mutual interest in their duties, rights and privileges.

This Web site is meant to assist members in pursuing these objectives and to promote greater communication amongst the Society’s members.

For more specific information about the Society please see the Rules of the Society page or use the Contact Us page.

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News from the Society

The 50th General Meeting of the Society will take place in South Africa in September of 2013. All members of the Society are invited to attend.

The meeting agenda and documentation will be posted under the Meetings section of this web site.

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History of the Society

The Society was founded in 1932 by Owen Clough, a former Clerk of the Senate of South Africa. In 1903 Clough had accompanied the South African representative to the Delhi Durbar and when Sir Howard D’Egville founded the Empire (now Commonwealth) Parliamentary Association (CPA), Clough became the South African branch secretary which gave him the opportunity to visit Australia and Canada. As a result, on his retirement from the Clerkship of the Senate, Clough determined to do for the officers of Parliaments what D’Egville had already done for their Members.

For the next twenty years Clough served the Society he had created as Secretary, Treasurer and Editor. From the beginning the object of the Society was to provide a means by which parliamentary officials could share knowledge of the practices and procedures of the various legislatures of the Commonwealth. This was achieved initially primarily through the annual publication of the Society’s journal – The Table. The first volume of The Table was published in 1932: 2005 saw the publication of the 73rd edition.

The changed conditions of the post-war world and the ever increasing contact between the Parliaments of the Commonwealth caused the Society to think seriously about the possibility of also holding conferences. The Society began discussions with the CPA to see how its members’ wish to have properly organised meetings at least once a year could best be handled. The result was an agreement that time would be provided during the annual CPA Conference for a General Meeting of the Society. The first such meeting was held in the United Kingdom in 1961: the 42nd meeting was held in the Fiji Islands in 2005. [1]

Since 1952 the Clerks of the two Houses of the UK Parliament have had responsibility for the administration of the Society – an arrangement which was endorsed unanimously during the reorganisation of the Society in 1969. The Clerk of the Commons Overseas Office acts as Secretary to the Society. At its 2005 meeting, following extensive consultations on its future structure, aims and strategy, the Society agreed to set up an Advisory Committee with representation from all Commonwealth Regions to provide advice on a range of issues concerning the operation and further development of the Society.

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For a full list of Conferences, see our Meetings section.
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