London,
13
July
2012
|
01:00
Europe/London

CIPR welcomes Political and Constitutional Reform Committee's call to scrap third party lobbyist register

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has today responded to a report from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC) that calls to scrap current proposals as laid out in the Government’s ‘Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists’ consultation.

The Institute agrees with the PCRC report that the Government’s proposals as they stand “create a narrow focus for a register that will meet a Coalition pledge, but do little to improve transparency” and supports the Committee's calls for any statutory register of lobbyists to be universal in its scope.

The CIPR also agrees with the Committee that any statutory register of lobbyists should be underpinned by a strong definition of lobbying as an activity, but refutes calls from the Committee that point toward burdening the industry with further regulation.

Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO said:

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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.

 

Speaking on the subject of the definition of lobbying and the broad scope of a universal register as recommended by the Committee, Jane Wilson added:

 
  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.

 

On the subject of a register which supports existing models of self-regulation, Jane Wilson commented:

 
  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.

 

On the subject of over-burdening the industry with further regulation, Ms Wilson concluded:

 
  I would resist calls from the Committee calling for further regulation of the industry. If we acknowledge that lobbying is an essential part of the democratic process, with an important relationship to freedom of speech, I am wary of any moves to introduce obstacles or burdens to those who engage in lobbying or who employ lobbyists. As the Committee later sets out, the Government can do more to immediately improve transparency and public confidence in lobbying through enhanced disclosure of ministerial meetings. This is a move which I and the industry would support.
Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO LinkedIn icon LinkedIn icon
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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).

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