Leaked APPC minutes reveal anger over lobbying register

Leaders of the Association of Professional Political Consultants have privately expressed their 'grave disappointment' with the new UK lobbying register.

APPC meeting: chaired by Edelman vice-chairman Michael Burrell
APPC meeting: chaired by Edelman vice-chairman Michael Burrell

PRWeek has obtained minutes of a lively APPC management committee meeting on 11 April. They reveal that a significant chunk of the meeting was spent criticising the register, launched by the UK Public Affairs Council (UKPAC) on 1 March.

The Government pledged to implement a statutory register of lobbyists as part of the coalition agreement thrashed out last year. The APPC had hoped to influence the final scheme by setting up a workable register that would serve as a template.

However, APPC management committee members noted that the UKPAC register – which is jointly funded by the APPC, CIPR and PRCA – contained ‘significant errors, both in the omission of 15 APPC members (since corrected) and within members’ entries and discrepancies between the data transferred for each member’.
According to the minutes: ‘Members expressed grave disappointment with UKPAC’s performance to date, which they felt had put back APPC’s position about a statutory register by the two years since APPC had agreed to support the formation of UKPAC. Accepting financial constraints, this was nonetheless due to incompetence.’
Despite the technical problems, the assembled APPC members agreed that it was too late in the day to switch IT contractors. With the emphasis on amending the current set-up, the minutes state it was ‘agreed that APPC would have to bear any additional costs because it was the APPC’s reputation that had suffered, rather than PRCA or CIPR’.

The meeting on 11 April was chaired by Edelman vice-chairman Michael Burrell. He told PRWeek: 'I think UKPAC itself accepts that there is scope to improve the accuracy of its register and to make it easier for members to provide the information that UKPAC.'

An UKPAC spokesman said: ‘We continue to work with the APPC, CIPR and PRCA to deliver a pragmatic and robust solution that will ensure an accurate and easily updated register.’

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