As the Government prepares a White Paper and draft Bill, it has published findings from the 260 responses received over the twelve-week consultation with the lobbying industry.
The paper reveals that the definition of ‘lobbying’ presented an issue for many respondents and ‘there was a widespread recognition that arriving at the right definitions would be fundamental to the effectiveness of the register’.
Forty-six respondents suggested that a register should be widened to include other types of lobbyist, not just those in agencies. However, 19 respondents were happy with the Government’s proposed definition.
The consultation found that the proposed quarterly register updates proved the favoured option but there was also strong support for an annual return.
There was a clear split between those that favoured a code of conduct and those who did not.
The document notes that government will now develop ‘revised policy proposals’, which has been welcomed by the PRCA and the CIPR.
PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham said: ‘We infer from the language used by the Government that it has taken on board the strong and near-unanimous criticism made of its original proposals.
‘The PRCA hopes that the Government will have listened to those comments, and will now amend its plans accordingly. If it does so, it will deliver the comprehensive and effective register that we all want.’
Connect Communications operations director Emily Wallace said: ‘Clearly the Government must now come forward with plans for a wider register that both promotes transparency and encourages lobbyists to adhere to an ethical code of conduct.’
CIPR director of policy and comms Phil Morgan added: ‘It has shown there is little support for a register that only covers third-party lobbyists and there is a firm direction from the responses to include those who work in-house and in other contexts. We hope the draft legislation will reflect this.’