CIPR and PRCA comment on statutory register of lobbyists consultation
The CIPR and the PRCA have today said that they welcome the consultation launched by the Government for a statutory register of lobbyists that could also see ‘rogue’ lobbyists jailed. Today it was announced that lobbyists could face up to two years in jail for issuing misleading statements and would also have to sign a statutory register that will also apply to charities, lawyers, management consultants, trade unions and business groups. Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO, said: “The Government is to be commended for producing a policy consultation which makes it clear that it values lobbying and does not want to overburden the industry with excessive regulation. We also believe that the burden of registration should be minimal and it is good to see sensible proposals on the level of disclosure put forward by the Government. “Transparency is the CIPR’s guiding principle in professional conduct and we have long held the view that the public affairs profession has nothing to fear from a statutory register as long as it is universal, has no 'good cause' exemptions and provides a level playing field in lobbying. “We will now examine the consultation in detail, engage with our members and consider our response.” Meanwhile, Francis Ingham, chief executive of the PRCA, said: “The PRCA supports the Government’s commitment to a statutory register of lobbyists. That register became inevitable some time ago, due to the unfortunate failure of UKPAC to make a unified voluntary register a reality. “The Government now needs to move quickly, to resolve the uncertainty that hangs over an industry which contributes greatly to the public good, and to good government decisions. After the three month consultation, it should move with urgency to put a statutory register in place. “We would caution the Government that a register which fails to include charities, lawyers, trade unions, accountancy firms and the like would be a failure. It would be unfair to multi-client agencies, and would leave a majority of the lobbying industry uncovered. A register that did not include the TUC, CBI, Greenpeace and so on would hardly be a register at all.” The consultation will run until for 12 weeks and aims to give all interested parties the chance to comment on the policy options that will underpin the creation of a statutory register of lobbyists.