Independent review into government business relations makes case for greater transparency

An independent review into the government’s relations with business has found a sense amongst businesses that "there is no longer an open and fully transparent relationship between the public and the private sectors". It concludes that engagement with the government requires greater transparency.

Published today, 'A New Partnership - A long-term plan for Government business relations to power our economy and society', was commissioned by the Labour Party and conducted by CIPR Fellow, Iain Anderson. It saw over 300 individuals and organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), consulted over a four month period to inform and better understand what business wants to see from government and the principles that constructive business engagement should be based upon.

The review presents six key findings:

  1. More co-ordination from the heart of government to deliver a world class standard for engagement and ability to measure success in order to achieve the right outcomes for the economy.
  2. Long-term relationships between government and business need to be fostered and the ‘spin cycle’ of both political appointments and policymaking should end.
  3. Engagement should be open and transparent, sourcing the best ideas for our economy and society – not just for those with proximity to power.
  4. Tackling the UK’s Foreign Direct Investment problem should be a priority in order to make the UK the best place to invest and start a business.
  5. A new government's missions should be embedded throughout engagement to ensure business and workers can effectively contribute to a new government’s agenda. Review existing structures and removing ‘talking shops’ by allowing earlier and ongoing consultation ahead of policy change.
  6. Regular dialogue between systemic regulators and Ministers from key economic departments is called for to join up policy interventions.
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

The CIPR was very pleased to work with Iain on this important review and to share our thoughts on proposals for how business and government can work together in the future. We are encouraged by the findings that support our view that greater transparency in the relationship between government and business is required.

The CIPR has long held the view that business should work closely with government for the good of the UK, but in an ethical and transparent way, open to challenge and scrutiny by citizens. The appalling sleaze of recent years has brought the public regard for Westminster to a state of degradation that the framers of the 2014 Lobbying Act could hardly have imagined.

This report couldn't have been more timely. On the same day this review has been published, Transparency International reported the UK has fallen to its lowest-ever score on their Corruption Perceptions Index. All in all, the case for reform of lobbying law has never been stronger.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

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 with over 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).