The National Association of Parliamentarians® (NAP) is the premier professional non-profit association of parliamentarians. NAP provides services and products to help its members and the general public learn how to effectively participate in and manage meetings of deliberative assemblies such as nonprofit organizations, school boards, home owners associations, church boards, and volunteer organizations. NAP also provides continuing education and accreditation for parliamentarians who provide professional services to these types of organizations.

Our mission: NAP is a society dedicated to educating leaders throughout the world in effective meeting management through the use of parliamentary procedure.

NAP serves the needs of today’s parliamentarians and those interested in learning about parliamentary procedure. The association’s goals are to:

  • encourage its members and the general public to learn the principles and practice of democratic decision-making;
  • help teachers instruct people of all ages—from public and private school students to active professionals to
  • retirees involved in their communities—in parliamentary procedure;
  • promote collaboration and professional development among parliamentarians; and
  • provide widely recognized, authoritative accreditation of parliamentarians.

What is parliamentary procedure and why is it important?
Parliamentary procedure refers to the rules of democracy—the commonly accepted way in which a group of people come together, present and discuss possible courses of action, and make decisions.

All types of decision-making bodies use parliamentary procedure on a daily basis: school boards, homeowners’ associations, city councils, and non-profit boards of directors, for example. Parliamentary procedure also defines what duties people typically have when they are elected the president, secretary, or treasurer of an organization.

Even a basic background in parliamentary principles can help organizations hold more efficient meetings. However, consulting with a professional parliamentarian can bring organizations the benefits of a high level of parliamentary proficiency backed by dedicated study and broad experience.

What is a parliamentarian?
A parliamentarian, or parliamentary procedure consultant, is an expert in interpreting and applying the “Rules of Order” for meetings. These rules, such as Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, enable groups to efficiently and fairly discuss and determine actions to be taken.

A parliamentarian’s main function is to give advice on parliamentary procedure to the president, officers, committees, and members of a group or organization. Parliamentarians also have knowledge of the nomination and election process, which can be of great assistance in close or difficult elections.

Some of the ways a parliamentarian can assist organizations include:

  • Convention Parliamentarian
  • Bylaws Consultant
  • Bylaws Amendment or Revision Author
  • Adviser to the Officers and Board of Directors
  • Expert Witness
  • Professional Presiding Officer
  • Trainer in Parliamentary Procedure
  • Presiding Officer Trainer
  • Election Supervisor
  • Planning Meeting Strategist
  • Script Writer

Presently, there are two levels of credentialing offered by the National Association of Parliamentarians: Registered Parliamentarian® (RP) and Professional Registered Parliamentarian® (PRP). Credentialing for RPs and PRPs is managed by the NAP Commission on Credentialing.

This material sets the expectations of the Commission on Credentialing for everyone who wishes to become a Registered Parliamentarian.

This document is designed to guide an NAP member who wishes to prepare to become credentialed as a Registered Parliamentarian. Being ready to respond in a performance based assessment with skill in each of the competencies means that a candidate will be successful in earning this credential. The objectives illustrate the sort of abilities expected, and the performance expectations explain in detail what is required to master each competency at the appropriate level of skill.

The Standards for Registered Parliamentarian use the NAP Body of Knowledge as the basis for deciding what skills (competencies) a Registered Parliamentarian needs to have in order to serve as a consultant for associations dealing with common issues and concerns. The standards cover eight domain areas, which include:

  • Domain 1: Motions and Meeting-Related Procedures
  • Domain 2: Governing Documents
  • Domain 3: Serving as Parliamentarian in Meetings and Conventions
  • Domain 4: Teaching
  • Domain 5: Business and Ethics
  • Domain 6: Governance
  • Domain 7: Consulting Skills
  • Domain 8: Nominations, Elections, and Voting

The resources to be used in conjunction to prepare to meet these standards include:

  • Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th edition), cited as RONR
  • Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief, (2nd edition), cited as RONRIB
  • Professional Practices in Parliamentary Procedure (2015, NAP), cited as PPPP
  • Pathway to Proficiency: Parliamentary Playbook – A Guide to Script Writing (2nd edition) (2014, NAP), cited as Playbook

The Standards for Registered Parliamentarian covers 11 content areas:

  • Motions in General—so that the parliamentarian will know the important rules for motions that are commonly used and have the ability to rapidly access the appropriate information for motions that are not used often, as well as more details about commonly used motions.
  • Main Motion—so that the parliamentarian will know important rules applying to main motions since that knowledge is critical in understanding how associations should conduct business.
  • Subsidiary and Privileged Motions—so that the parliamentarian will know how each of the subsidiary motions is used to assist in disposing of main motions and when privileged motions properly interrupt pending business.
  • Incidental Motions—so that the parliamentarian will know the rules governing the particular circumstances in which these motions arise out of consideration of other motions.
  • Motions That Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly—so that the parliamentarian will know how to help an organization make a different decision than one already made on an issue.
  • Organization and Conduct of Meetings—so that the parliamentarian will know the rules that keep meetings fair and on target such as establishing the quorum, creating the agenda, and conducting debate.
  • Voting, Nominations, and Elections—so that the parliamentarian will know the decision making process involving nominations, elections, and voting.
  • Serving as a Parliamentarian in Meetings—so that the parliamentarian will know the issues involved in the creation and conduct of meetings and the relation between a meeting and a session.
  • Writing and Interpreting Bylaws and Other Governing Documents—so that the parliamentarian will know how to write, read, and understand all the rules stated in bylaws and other forms of governing documents.
  • Boards and Committees—so that a parliamentarian will know how special rules apply to different kinds of boards and to committees.
  • Professional Parliamentarian—so that the parliamentarian will know the skills and perform the duties expected of a professional and ethical individual with expertise who is paid to advise others.

Competencies and Performance Expectations
Each content area has competencies and performance expectations that can be used to guide the development of courses and study material to prepare for assessment to become a Registered Parliamentarian. The competencies are based upon areas of the NAP Body of Knowledge that are important for members and leaders to know, since presumably an RP must have at a minimum what is expected of members and leaders. The performance expectations provide a framework of what the Registered Parliamentarian should be able to know and do while serving as an RP.

Assessment Parameters
The competencies for preparing to become and retain one’s status as a Registered Parliamentarian cover more than what is in RONR. But with respect to RONR, the assessment included in these standards are based on the following assumptions:

  1.  Registered Parliamentarians should be able to understand and apply all that is in the book when they have it available for reference. This should be sufficient with respect to that advice that is provided outside of meetings, such as helping to draft a bylaws amendment.
  2.  In a meeting, Registered Parliamentarians should be able rapidly to find, refer to, understand and apply any rule that would be likely to come up and need resolution in the meeting itself.
  3.  Registered Parliamentarians should know and be able to apply parliamentary rules that are relevant in an ordinary meeting under usual circumstances without having to refer to RONR.

NOTE: When “(C)” is found at the end of a performance expectation, it means “Consult.” In fulfilling this performance expectation, the parliamentarian may contemporaneously consult RONR, RONRIB, or another source cited, but is expected to be sufficiently familiar with the material to be consulted to be able to correctly research and apply it as needed. When “(C)” is not included at the end of a performance expectation, the parliamentarian is expected to be able to fulfill it without referring to RONR or other sources concerning parliamentary rules other than any that are specific to the organization being advised.

Content Assessment Steps
Mastery of the performance standards will be assessed through three consecutive steps. This approach is reflected in the numbering system (steps 1, 2, and 3) included in each content area:

The candidate for registered parliamentarian will be evaluated sequentially starting with Step 1. The candidate will need to successfully complete Step 1, proceed to Step 2, successfully complete Step 2, and proceed to and complete Step 3.

The candidate for registered parliamentarian will be evaluated sequentially starting with Step 1. The candidate will need to successfully complete Step 1, proceed to Step 2, successfully complete Step 2, and proceed to and complete Step 3.

Step 1: Objective Test
Such a test consists of factual questions requiring knowledge and application of rules whose substance has been committed to memory. Question types include multiple choice, true-false, fill in the blank, matching , sequencing, etc.

Step 2: Written, Online, or Multimedia Assignments
Written assignments such as short answer, essay, and case studies will be sent to the candidate to be completed and returned to designated evaluators. In addition, assignments for tasks performed outside of meeting environments may be assessed through the use of online and multimedia tools.

Step 3: Simulation
Candidates for registered parliamentarian will demonstrate their knowledge and skill through various simulations of meeting scenarios.



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