Lobbying industry responds to “fundamentally flawed” Holyrood Exposed report

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the Chartered professional body for public affairs and public relations professionals in the UK, and the owners and operators of the open, universal and free UK Lobbying Register, have responded to the publication of Holyrood Exposed, jointly published this week by Spinwatch, Unlock Democracy and Electoral Reform Society Scotland.

Phil Morgan, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIPR
Holyrood Exposed grossly misinterprets the purpose of lobbying, its role within society and paints a fundamentally flawed picture of an entire industry.

Lobbying is an integral component of every thriving democracy. Politicians and policy makers need information in order to exercise their judgement effectively. Lobbying, as a professional service, has an important role in the process of policy making and is one of the key means by which information can enter the debate from outside the system itself.

Holyrood Exposed purports that “lobbying is best done and is most effective when no one is watching”. The public have a right to know who is influencing policy and legislation and for that reason lobbying should be conducted in plain view. Increased transparency builds greater public confidence in our democratic structures. The insinuation that politicians can’t think for themselves and continually swayed by underhand dealing is an insult both to them and to the voters they represent.

Professional standards provide a fair and effective form of scrutiny of lobbying activity. The UK Lobbying Register is the only free-of-charge register which is open to any lobbyist to disclose who they work for or which clients they represent, and everyone on it is accountable to a code of conduct. We would urge everyone who lobbies to make full use of it.
Phil Morgan, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIPR
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).