Profession must debate the definition of lobbying says CIPR
Any statutory register of lobbyists must be underpinned by a concrete definition of lobbying as an activity, which is why the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has launched a ‘debate the definition’ of lobbying online discussion forum. The CIPR has proposed a definition and is encouraging public affairs practitioners to discuss and debate its draft with the aim of the profession collaborating to deliver a definition of lobbying that it can formally present to Government.
I welcome this opportunity for the public affairs profession to consider how lobbying should be defined as an activity – the definition is absolutely fundamental to the forthcoming register and I would therefore encourage all practitioners to get involved and air their views in this open forum.
This is a great initiative from the CIPR and will add to the development of a robust approach towards the creation of a statutory register of lobbyists. Some suggest that debating the definition of lobbying is an attempt to delay the inevitable introduction of a register but this is simply not the case – I have long held the view that the lobbying industry has nothing to fear from a statutory register as long as it creates a level playing field for all.
The CIPR’s proposed definition is a great start – it sets out a short definition that can be discussed, tested and developed. It is essential that as many voices as possible are involved as the final definition of lobbying may impact on many people who engage with policy makers.
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).
The Government consultation on introducing a statutory register of lobbyists closed in April 2012 and Ministers are in the process of reflecting on the responses.