CIPR calls for review into lobbying legislation to include role of external advisers

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has called for the government's use of lobbyists in providing policy advice to be included as part of the review into the existing lobbying legislation, announced earlier this year.

This follows a Sunday Times report that the Chairman of lobbying firm Portland Communications, George Pascoe-Watson, and one of its consultants, Lord O'Shaughnessy, served as unpaid advisers to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and later shared specific information with clients on national policy matters related to the pandemic.

Neither Pascoe-Watson nor Lord O'Shaughnessy are CIPR members and Portland are not on the voluntary CIPR-run UK Lobbying Register.

Rachael Clamp Chart.PR, MCIPR, Chair of CIPR Public Affairs
The CIPR welcomes the use of external communications support, particularly at this time of national emergency. However, it is not right that those in positions of lobbying the government for their clients are brought in to provide advice to the government. At this time access to information shouldn't be a commodity or something to be used for commercial advantage. The advice provided may well have been done so within the rules and it is precisely for this reason why a review of the lobbying legislation is required as, currently, the public is offered very little protection or information on these matters.
Rachael Clamp Chart.PR, MCIPR, Chair of CIPR Public Affairs
  • The UK Lobbying Register (UKLR) is a register of individual lobbyists and organisations which are involved in lobbying. The register is operated by the CIPR and is open, universal, and free.

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).