CIPR calls for debate on lobbying definition

The CIPR has urged the Government to consider a further phase of its consultation into public affairs that focuses on how lobbying should be defined.

Defining moment: how lobbying is described in the dictionary
Defining moment: how lobbying is described in the dictionary

The deadline for submissions to the Cabinet Office's consultation on 'Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists' was completed last Friday, and now minister for political and constitutional reform Mark Harper is considering the submissions in order to develop a white paper.

However, on 18 April, CIPR CEO Jane Wilson wrote to Harper to suggest that 'having a workable definition will not only set the scope of the register, it will ultimately determine whether or not it succeeds in delivering the Government's own objective of improving transparency in the lobbying process'.

To support this call, the CIPR has commissioned law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner to draft a five-page definition, which starts with the point that it should include all activities that are designed 'to influence government or other official policy'.

Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners director of policy and comms Keith Johnston - a CIPR board member - said this definition 'can easily be applied to real life examples, and recent lobbying on the charity tax cap demonstrated that charities can no longer claim to be exempt from this definition'.

The CIPR suggested that a working group made up of industry people and the Government could carry out a discussion of the draft definition before legislation is drafted.

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