FRIDAY 8 AUG 2014 9:56 AM


Since the passing of the Lobbying Act in January 2014 the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and its members have compiled a formal request for further information and clarity. The PRCA Not for Profit and Charity Group wrote to the Electoral Commission yesterday and enclosed ten questions regarding the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act.

The Bill, which comes into force on 19 September, limits the amount that charities can spend on campaigning activities and contains rules which will affect the campaigning activities of charities during the 2015 general election. The PRCA is asking for a response by 19 August, giving its members time to prepare for this change.

Simon Francis, director at Claremont and vice-chair of the PRCA’s Not for Profit and Charity Group, says, “It’s of huge concern to in-house teams, agencies and freelancers alike that with just weeks to go before non-party campaigner regulations coming into force, there are still fundamental questions that remain unanswered about the impact of the Lobbying Act.”

Francis continues, “The concerns the PRCA’s members have raised range from fundamental questions about what is covered, to the extent to which spending limits apply to staff or volunteer activity, and into the detail of how any spending should be reported. While the general advice to PRs is to keep calm and keep campaigning, the industry needs to be aware that the Lobbying Act does not just have an impact on lobbyists. All PRs need to ensure they will not fall foul of these highly complex and bureaucratic regulations.”

The PRCA campaigns on behalf of public affairs and lobbying professionals and has maintained ongoing discussion with Government with regards to lobbying regulations and laws. The agency body has also taken issue with the aspect of the Lobbying Act that relates to a statutory register of lobbyists. The PRCA currently publishes its own Public Affairs Register in accordance with its Codes of Conduct and Professional Charter. The register requires PRCA members to demonstrate transparency and ethical practice.


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