CIPR responds to government consultation on lobbyist register
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has today responded to the Government consultation “Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists” which is being proposed to address a perceived lack of transparency in lobbying.
The Institute considers the Government’s proposals to be ‘inadequate and unlikely to stand the test of time’ and states that a statutory register of lobbyists should be universal or it will fail to meet the Government’s own objectives.
The CIPR believes the register should be underpinned by a strong definition of lobbying as an activity and proposes what could be a basis for the legislation that will define the success or failure of the register.
In its response, the CIPR also argues that:
- the register should support the existing structures of industry self-regulation by identifying lobbyists regulated by industry codes of conduct
- the cost and compliance burden of the register should be kept low and to a widely affordable minimum
- the register’s operator should be independent but advised by both the industry and Government.
Commenting, CEO of the CIPR Jane Wilson, said:
A statutory register of lobbyists must be universal and come with a low compliance burden if the proposals are to have any chance of success and not to risk restricting access to the democratic process.
We welcome the Government’s commitment not to regulate lobbying on a statutory basis. The register provides an opportunity to support the existing structures of self-regulation and we hope they give this serious consideration.
The Government also needs to think carefully about how to define lobbying. We have proposed an approach that could be developed and used in the legislation which draws on existing statutes and captures the act of lobbying at first principles. Underpinned by a broad definition, the register could provide genuine transparency in the process of influencing public policy. A narrow definition, or one which looks at the person or their employment rather the activity, will limit the register and the success of the proposal.
Notes to editors
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.
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).