FRIDAY 20 JAN 2012 4:05 PM


The Government has launched a consultation into the statutory register of lobbyists, inviting views from the public and industry on how the register will work.

The move follows the industry's own attempt to regulate lobbying with the UKPAC. This attempt was deemed a failure by the PRCA, one of the three professional bodies and founders of the UKPAC alongside the CIPR and the APPC. The PRCA withdrew from the UKPAC in December.

The consultation paper reinforces the Government’s commitment to a statutory register while recognising the important function that lobbying plays in politics.

Both the PRCA and the CIPR have welcomed the launch.

Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO comments, “The Government is to be commended for producing a policy consultation which makes it clear that it values lobbying and does not want to overburden the industry with excessive regulation. We also believe that the burden of registration should be minimal and it is good to see sensible proposals on the level of disclosure put forward by the Government. Transparency is the CIPR's guiding principle in professional conduct and we have long held the view that the public affairs profession has nothing to fear from a statutory register as long as it is universal, has no 'good cause' exemptions and provides a level playing field in lobbying.”

Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive, says, “The PRCA supports the Government’s commitment to a statutory register of lobbyists. That register became inevitable some time ago, due to the unfortunate failure of UKPAC to make a unified voluntary register a reality.

“The Government now needs to move quickly, to resolve the uncertainty that hangs over an industry which contributes greatly to the public good, and to good government decisions. After the three month consultation, it should move with urgency to put a statutory register in place.

“We would caution the Government that a register which fails to include charities, lawyers, trade unions, accountancy firms and the like would be a failure. It would be unfair to multi-client agencies, and would leave a majority of the lobbying industry uncovered. A register that did not include the TUC, CBI, Greenpeace and so on would hardly be a register at all.”