New lobbying rules "fall short" of reform needed to restore trust, says CIPR
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has welcomed the government's long-awaited recommendations to tighten lobbying rules but warns they "fall short" of the reform needed to restore trust in the integrity in politics.
The paper - Strengthening Ethics and Integrity in Central Government - is the government's response to a number of bodies that made recommendations on how to improve the rules following a number of high-profile lobbying scandals. Under the new rules - published today - government departments and senior civil servants will be required to declare more detailed and regular information via a single platform. The rules will also see those registered on the register of consultant lobbyists to provide more information about their clients.
The CIPR, the professional body for lobbyists, has welcomed the changes to the rules but argued they do not go far enough. The Institute has been campaigning for lobbying reform through the introduction of an expanded lobbying register that includes in-house as well as consultant lobbyists to build greater transparency and openness in politics.
Any measures to increase transparency around lobbying and commercial interests are welcomed. These are tweaks in the right direction and there are some good proposals in this report that should be applauded. However, ultimately it falls short of the wholesale reform needed to restore trust in the integrity of our political institutions. These new rules fail to provide a level-playing field for the lobbying profession.
We're particularly disappointed that the government hasn't taken on board many of the recommendations around reforming the lobbying register and the need to improve the level of information and transparency it provides. Until we have a register that captures lobbying activity rather than who is doing the lobbying, we will not have true transparency. We will continue to campaign for reform of the Lobbying Act to bring the UK into line with international best practice.
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).