DIARY: It’s all for one and one for all in joint approach to lobbying regulation

So the three associations which represent lobbyists are making a new attempt, seven months after Drapergate, to come up with a way of dealing with wayward consultants.

So the three associations which represent lobbyists are making a

new attempt, seven months after Drapergate, to come up with a way of

dealing with wayward consultants.



The IPR, PRCA and Association of Professional Political Consultants APPC

have never been particularly co-ordinated in their approach to the

subject.



But last summer, after years of insisting that lobbyists were not part

of the PR industry and should be regulated separately, the APPC finally

agreed to try to devise a joint way forward with the IPR and PRCA.



However, new problems arose when those around the table could not agree

on whether the regulation should be of individuals or of agencies and

companies, such as Tesco or Boots, which employ public affairs

experts.



Peter Walker, who was IPR president last year, was pushing for

regulation of individuals, either via their employment contracts, which

would point them towards an agreed code, or via a register. He believes

it would be difficult for the associations to police lobbyists employed

by companies - as opposed to agencies.



However the other two associations felt it would be too complicated and

expensive to run a register of the thousands of lobbyists working in

Westminster.



Now that Philip Dewhurst has taken over from Walker at the IPR, there

seems to be renewed will to find a joint solution. Fingers crossed.



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