Lord Neill’s committee on standards in public life is to
investigate lobbying as part of its next inquiry, and expects to call on
lobbying industry representatives to give evidence.
The committee decided at a meeting last week (PR Week, 23 October), to
investigate lobbying in the light of last July’s ’cash for access’
scandal including allegations that former GPC lobbyist Derek Draper was
in close contact with former colleague Roger Liddle, now part of the
Downing Street policy unit.
The committee aims to look at the relationship between civil servants,
including special advisers, and lobbyists - both consultants and
in-house staff. This will include the rules governing civil servants
leaving the public sector to join public affairs consultancies.
After the committee’s first report, which concentrated on MPs, the House
of Commons decided to ban MPs from acting as paid advocates for third
parties. Whether MPs have financial links to lobbying firms is open to
interpretation by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee.
The PRCA, IPR and APPC are expected to be consulted and may be called to
give evidence to the committee early next year.
Neill said: ’We ought to look again at issues from our first report in
the light of the most recent developments.’
’We will want to consider the implementation of recommendations in our
first report in relation to: civil servants and their relationship with
ministers, including issues relating to lobbying,’ he said.