Below is a list of bills from the 2016-2017 session before parliament. Looking at the RSS and specifically at any particular bill, there are two elements titled <category>.

As the search options for type of bill are only "Public", "Private" and "Hybrid", what are these two <category>'s really representing?

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<rss xmlns:a10="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" version="2.0">
    <title>Public Bills</title>
    <description>A list of all public bills for the current session</description>
    <item xmlns:p4="urn:services.parliament.uk-bills.ext" p4:stage="Programme motion">
        <guid isPermaLink="true">http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/pensionschemes.html</guid>
        <category>Government Bill</category>
        <title>Pension Schemes</title>
        <description>A bill to make provision about pension schemes</description>
    <item xmlns:p4="urn:services.parliament.uk-bills.ext" p4:stage="Report stage">
        <guid isPermaLink="true">http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/highereducationandresearch.html</guid>
        <category>Government Bill</category>
        <title>Higher Education and Research</title>
        <description>A Bill to make provision about higher education and research; and to make provision about alternative payments to students in higher or further education.</description>
  • I would guess it has to do with the house of lord and the house of commons, the two houses in the British parliament, but I really have no idea about this RSS feed. Jan 24, 2017 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


First, an example. I contrasted the XML below with the web page for this bill, which is here. Repeat as necessary until you feel comfortable with the intuition developed.

        <item p4:stage="Report stage"
        <guid isPermaLink="true">http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/nationalcitizenservice.html</guid>
        <category>Government Bill</category>
        <title>National Citizen Service</title>
        <description>A Bill to make provision for the national citizen service.</description>

The first category is the chamber that the bill resides in. It is either "Common" for the House of Commons or "Lords" for the House of Lords. In this example, the bill was created in the House of Lords but is currently in the House of Commons, so the value is correctly "Commons".

The second category is the type of bill. This is a government bill, which is a bill sponsored by the government(the Prime Minister and their cabinet). Other bills may come from non-ministerial legislators, those are called Private Members' Bills.

  • thanks. The definition of what a government bill was helped clear it up for me. Jan 25, 2017 at 10:10

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