CIPR's evidence features in latest Committee on Standards in Public Life report
"The current system of transparency around lobbying is not fit for purpose. It is too difficult to find out who is lobbying government; information is often released too late; descriptions of the content of government meetings are ambiguous and lack necessary detail; transparency data is scattered, disparate, and not easily cross-referenced; and information in the public interest is often excluded from data releases completely. Reforms are needed to the accessibility, quality, and timeliness of government data."
- Committee on Standards in Public Life 'Upholding Standards in Public Life' report
The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL)'s report on ethical standards within government is published today and features evidence given by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
The CIPR is quoted in the new report - 'Upholding Standards in Public Life - Standards Matter 2' - with its view on improving public trust in political institutions through greater lobbying transparency. The Institute is calling on the government to respond to the recommendations and to commit to a timetable of when changes are to be introduced.
The review follows the original 'Standards Matter' report from the committee published in 2013. It focuses on areas it considers most in need of reform: the Ministerial Code, Business Appointment Rules, the regulation of public appointments, and transparency around lobbying. It makes 33 recommendations, including seven specifically related to transparency around lobbying and concludes "the government should take a more thorough and professional approach to ethics rules and develop a compliance function across government".
I would like to thank Lord Evans and his team for taking the time to meet with the CIPR to discuss our thoughts and concerns on these crucial matters. As highlighted in the report, we share the view that the current rules around lobbying are not adequate or effective and do more to contribute to undermining public trust, rather than demonstrating the benefit lobbying brings to society when done ethically.
This review provides a welcome, joined-up view on how government should approach ethical rules and standards. It is clear in its conclusions and recommendations - particularly around lobbying; the rules are not fit for purpose and significant changes are needed if there is to be any level of transparency to improve trust in our political institutions. This echoes the findings of the recent Boardman report and we urge the government to now consider and publicly propose how they will be implementing these necessary changes and when. Anything less would be unsatisfactory.
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 in the UK and overseas 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).