As discussed in our previous blog, “Standards in Public Office Commission submissions to first legislative review of lobbying legislation” available here, the first legislative review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (“the Act”) has commenced.

The Think-Tank for action on Social Change (“TASC”) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (“PRCA”) have made submissions to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (“Department”), to be considered as part of the Act’s review.

TASC has made the following submissions:

  1. Ensure that the Act’s exemptions are not a conduit for secretive lobbying.
  2. Assess the extent of adherence by public bodies to the Act’s Transparency Code.
  3. Give the Standards in Public Office Commission powers to verify returns and receive complaints.
  4. Permit the identification of individuals who have contravened the Act’s provisions.
  5. Expand the categories of Designated Public Officials.
  6. Clarify database classification of registered lobbyists

TASC’s submission is available for review here.

PRCA’s submissions include the following:

  1. The need for continued education of public servants and officials to ensure compliance with the legislation.
  2. Concern about the apparent low levels of compliance by other professional services.
  3. The need for the Act to be amended to ensure that it clearly applies to overseas lobbying activity.
  4. The removal of MEPs from the scope of the legislation, given that it is duplication of the European Transparency Register.
  5. A requirement that Government Departments regularly update the Designated Public Officials listings.

PRCA’s submission is available for review here.

Commentary

These submissions are being made as part of the review of the Act. These submissions are informative of the challenges experienced by stakeholders and it will be interesting to see how many of these are taken on board by the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform.