Proposed rules on APPGs welcomed by CIPR as "wholly sensible"
"We stand by these conclusions from our initial report: APPGs are a valuable part of how Parliament does its work; but there remains a significant risk of improper access and influence by commercial entities or by hostile foreign actors, through APPGs."
- 'All-Party Parliamentary Groups: final proposals' report from the Committee on Standards
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has welcomed a new report recommending significant changes to the rules on All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs).
'All-Party Parliamentary Groups: final proposals' is the eighth report on the subject from the Committee on Standards and makes a series of recommendations including that no APPG secretariat should be funded by a foreign government. As part of their inquiry, the Committee took oral evidence from the CIPR. Earlier this year the CIPR wrote to the speakers of both Houses about the value of APPGs but raised concerns regarding inconsistencies between how they operate and warned that they provide an unethical route for lobbying purposes or are being run for commercial gain.
The proposals in the report include:
- No secretariat should be funded by a foreign government
- Agendas must be set by MPs and Peers
- No MP should be an officer of 6 or more groups
- Officers must be responsible for the group
- Each group must have at least 20 members
- Tighter rules including published annual reports and extended oversight of significant donations
These new rules are wholly sensible and allow for APPGs to do what they do best - bringing together expert voices and Parliamentarians to raise the profile of policy matters - while providing a necessary level of scrutiny to ensure they are not misused as vehicles for unethical practices. The CIPR would welcome the government acting on these recommendations, without delay.
It is clear that over time the way APPGs have been run has evolved to the point where there are some significant inconsistencies between who runs them and how they are run. These proposed rules put the overall responsibility on MPs, as it should be. The recent focus on APPGs as well as ongoing concerns about the transparency of lobbying activity should provide enough incentive to Parliamentarians to ensure they understand the risks of not acting to clear up the rules.
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).