CIPR responds to SPPA Committee's report on Scottish Lobbying Bill
The Scottish Parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) Committee’s report on the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill provides a chance for a ‘sense check’ on the development of a lobbying register in Scotland.
The Committee’s report follows a consultation on the potential impact of the proposed lobbying bill in Scotland. It highlights the possibility of the scope of the legislation being extended to include forms of communication other than face-to-face contact.
The report acknowledges that extending the scope of legislation would mean increasing the volume of information registrants would be required to provide. In its response to the SPPA consultation, the CIPR warned against unduly piling the burden of compliance on lobbyists in Scotland, and the Institute welcomes the committee’s call for the Scottish Government to re-examine the requirements of the register with this in mind.
The CIPR has long maintained its support for a sensible and proportionate lobbying register in Scotland that can help improve public accessibility to information on lobbying in Holyrood. The proposed register would sit alongside the UK Lobbying Register - the industry's open, universal and free lobbying register.
The findings of the SPPA’s report provide a useful point of reflection and a ‘sense-check’. Efforts to improve transparency should be welcomed but changes to the scope of the legislation need to be sensible and practical, while still collecting information of relevance.
We are also concerned that the Scottish Government’s failure to include unpaid lobbying risks becoming an invitation to avoidance for unethical lobbyists.
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).