The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has today said that it welcomes the views put forward in the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee report in terms of removing the proposals laid out in the Government’s ‘Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists’ consultation.
The CIPR stated that it agreed that the proposals as they stand “create a narrow focus for a register that will meet a Coalition pledge, but do little to improve transparency”; that any statutory register of lobbyists should be underpinned by a strong definition of lobbying as an activity; and that the register needs to be universal in scope.
Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO said: "I'd like to thank the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee for its timely report on the Government's ‘Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists’ consultation. Reports in recent days have highlighted that the public perception of lobbying, in some quarters, is of an industry where large corporations have disproportionate influence over political decision-making. I therefore welcome the Committee's recognition of lobbying as a fundamental part of the democratic process.
"The Committee has taken on board the concerns of both lobbyists and those outside the industry, that the Government's current proposals as they stand are 'too narrow'. A register with no 'good cause' exemptions, as recommended by the Committee, provides a level playing field in lobbying for all. It is my belief that a universal register should be underpinned by a strong definition of lobbying and that the right definition is also crucial to the success or failure of any register. The CIPR's 'Debate the Definition' initiative which is currently ongoing should be considered a starting point for this crucial debate.
“Any statutory register of lobbyists provides an opportunity to support the existing structures of self-regulation, and I would hope that the Government will give serious consideration to the Committee's suggestion of a 'hybrid-model' of a code of conduct for lobbyists’ that supports statutory registration. Furthermore, I would also urge the government to seriously consider the Committee's recommendation to support the existing structure of self-regulation which is self-funded by the industry.”