The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 comes into effect today, Tuesday 1 September 2015. Here is a brief analysis of the key issues.
Who is affected by the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015?
Anyone who is lobbying, ie
- An employer (with more than ten employees) where the communications are made on its behalf
- A representative body (with at least one employee) communicating on behalf of its members and the communication is made by a paid employee or office holder of the body
- An advocacy body (with at least one employee) that exists primarily to take up particular issues and a paid employee or office holder of the body is communicating on such issues
- Any person communicating about the development or zoning of land (other than an individual's principal private residence)
- A professional lobbyist being paid to communicate on behalf of a client, where the client satisfies the above criteria
What is lobbying?
Lobbying is defined as the making of a “relevant communication”, which means any communication, written or oral, directly or indirectly made to a designated public official ("DPO") in relation to a “relevant matter”.
What is a DPO?
Designated Public Officials include
- Ministers of the Government
- Ministers of State
- Other members of Dáil Éireann & Seanad Éireann
- MEPs for three constituencies in Ireland
- Members of Local Authorities
- Special advisers
- Secretaries-General (and assistant SGs) of Government departments
- CEOs and Directors of Services in Local Authorities
- Senior officers in other prescribed public bodies
What is a relevant matter?
Any matter relating to
- Public policy - initiation / development / modification
- Enactment - preparation / amendment
- Public Funds - award of any grant, loan or financial support, contract or other agreement, or of any licence or other authorisation involving public funds
- Developing / zoning of land - other than principal private residence
When do I have to send in my return?
If engaging in lobbying activities between 1 September and 31 December 2015, you must register and submit your first return by 21 January 2016.
What do I have to do if I am lobbying?
Register and file returns three times a year on the Register of Lobbying website (to be run by the Standards in Public Office Commission).