Introducing a statutory register of lobbyists - Political and Constitutional Reform Contents

6  Conclusion

89.   In conclusion, we are not convinced that the Government's current proposals for introducing a statutory register of lobbyists will do much to increase the transparency of lobbying activity in the UK. The Government's definition of a lobbyist is considered to be too narrow and potentially unworkable by lobbyists, academics, charities and transparency campaigners alike.

90.  We call on the Government to scrap its current proposals for a statutory register and implement a system of medium regulation. A system of medium regulation would include all those who lobby professionally, in a paid role, and would require lobbyists to disclose the issues they are lobbying Government on. In our view, this would improve transparency about lobbying, and help to reduce public concerns about undue influence.

91.  We believe that there is much the Government can do immediately to improve transparency around who is lobbying whom, through enhanced disclosure of ministerial meetings. We recommend that the Government:

publish information about ministerial meetings no more than a month after the month in which the meeting occurred;

standardize the format of meeting data, with a view to publishing all ministerial and official meetings on one website, rather than on 24 different Government websites;

improve the level of detail in meeting disclosures, so that the actual topic of a meeting is disclosed, rather than obscure terms like 'general discussion'; and

publish, where applicable, the company or charity number of any organisation that meets with Ministers or officials, so that the identity of the organisation can be properly verified.

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 13 July 2012