The Scottish Parliament's standards committee is being warned that
attempts to control lobbying could create a two-tier regulatory
As PRWeek went to press, members of the committee were due to discuss,
and possibly finalise, plans to push through tough regulations.
But in a report to members, civil servants have warned the plans could
create an unfair system, as the proposals only apply to PA
consultancies, and not to in-house practitioners or trade associations'
government relations staff.
The warning came after the committee received dozens of critical
representations from PA groups, including the Association of
Professional Political Consultants and the Public Relations Consultants
Association's public affairs committee.
APPC chairman Michael Burrell said: 'We are relieved and pleased the
committee has clearly registered our concerns and taken on board the
fact that what they are proposing will not achieve what they want.'
Plans being discussed by the committee include forcing lobbyists to
disclose details of clients, budgets and fees.
Committee members are also being urged by civil servants to take further
legal advice as the plans may contravene three articles of the European
Convention on Human Rights, relating to privacy, discrimination and
freedom and expression.
This follows an investigation into the legal implications by the PRCA
(PRWeek, August 17).