Ludgate public affairs’ decision to do away with charging for its
parliamentary monitoring is a brave, but prescient step.
In a world where internet surfers can not only access Hansard at the
touch of a key but have one-to-one on-line chats with their MPs, it
seems unlikely that lobbying firms will be able to survive financially
by charging for packaging public political information.
The future of public affairs consultancy lies rather in strategic
political advice, using the inside knowledge and understanding of the
political process built up by experienced consultants. Not only is this
a more financially viable option for agencies, it is also a justifiable
expense for clients. Strategic political advice is not something that
can be accessed on the internet or in a public library.
Concentrating on what consultancies do best should also protect them
from criticism of charging for publicly available information of the
sort levelled during his evidence to the Neill Committee by ex-lobbyist