CIPR responds to the passing of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill

On Thursday, the Scottish Government passed the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill which includes provision for establishing and maintaining a lobbying register for Scotland.

Whilst the CIPR has supported the Scottish Government’s attempts to promote transparency by establishing a register of lobbying activity in Holyrood, the Institute remains concerned at the number of exemptions within the legislation, which create an un-level playing field for lobbyists operating in Scotland.

Most notably, sole traders and organisations with fewer than 10 employees representing themselves are not required to register and declare political engagement. This gives rise to concerns that the Scottish Government may have missed the opportunity to deliver a genuinely all-inclusive lobbying register that provides the public with an accurate representation of lobbying activity in Scotland.

“The inclusion of in-house as well as agency lobbyists is a welcome step forward and represents a marked improvement on the Westminster register operated by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL), however the significant loopholes within the Scottish legislation offer a needless invitation to avoidance. 

In-house lobbying professionals working in small organisations should be subject to the same professional standards as those working in larger organisations. This amendment means the legislation will have a patchy impact on transparency and will give the public an incomplete picture of lobbying in Scotland.”

The CIPR will continue to represent the views of public affairs professionals to the Scottish Government during the implementation process and will update members on their registration responsibilities in due course.

Notes to editors

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).