The two trade associations for UK public affairs consultants have
joined forces to lobby the Government for consistent access to local
councillors on planning matters.
The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC), together
with the public affairs committee of the PRCA have issued a joint
submission to the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions'
consultation process on a code of conduct for councillors.
'Some local authorities are imposing draconian blanket restrictions on
councillors even talking to lobbyists or developers while they may be
happy to let councillors talk to objectors,' said Charles St George,
founding director of PPS, which counts supermarket giant Sainsbury's
among its local lobbying clients.
The submission, handed in last week, is written by St George but was
passed by the management committee of the APPC and PRCA lobbyists.
The two bodies argued that English and Welsh councils - Scotland is
excluded by dint of devolution - currently adopt 'wildly varying
approaches' to lobbying on planning matters.
The organisations hope to see embedded in the councillors' code of
conduct the statement that, 'you are free to meet with and discuss
issues with whomsoever you wish, provided that you treat all approaches
in an even-handed fashion and do nothing that might call into question
your own integrity or that of the authority itself'.