|Thursday, 23 February 2012 11:31|
The quest to draw up a statutory register of lobbyists in the UK took a step forward this week, as the CIPR debated the government’s consultation on the register with Mark Harper, the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform.
Developing a register of lobbyists has emerged as a priority in recent months. When the consultation was launched by the Minister, he commented: “Lobbying has an important role in the policy making process, but it must be conducted in an open and transparent way. It’s not always obvious who the people ministers and officials meet represent. The government wants a register that will bring more transparency to the process.”
The CIPR presented the Minister with the results of a recent survey of its public affairs members, which revealed that 70% believe that in-house public affairs practitioners should be included in the register, contrary to the suggestion in the proposals that they be exempted.
The survey also rejects the proposals that trade unions, freelancers, charities and think tanks should be classed as a ‘good cause exemption’.
These and the other results of the survey will form the basis for the CIPR’s responses to the consultation and to the call for evidence from the Political Reform Select Committee, which is currently chaired by the Labour MP Graham Allen.
The CIPR registered that it was pleased to be able to take part in the consultation process. “We welcome the opportunity to be a sounding board as the process continues.” said Iain Anderson, chair of CIPR PA, “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.”