DIARY: Presidential candidate has no time for unnecessary bureaucracy

The race for the IPR presidency is hotting up and the cracks are beginning to show - in this case on the IPR’s much vaunted register of lobbyists.

The race for the IPR presidency is hotting up and the cracks are

beginning to show - in this case on the IPR’s much vaunted register of

lobbyists.



Launched jointly with the PRCA amid fanfare last year, the register of

lobbying activities was heralded as a demonstration of the IPR’s

‘commitment to high professional standards and greater transparency in

this growing area of public relations’.



The response has been disappointing. Of the 240 members of the IPR’s

government affairs group - not all of whom are IPR members - just 83

have registered. Among the refuseniks is presidential candidate Peter

Walker, chairman of PR and lobbying firm Pielle.



Walker - referred to this week by MP Peter Luff as an ‘anarchist’ for

his views on the implementation of the Nolan report - is similarly

dismissive of the IPR’s register which he describes as ‘ill-conceived’,

impossible to police and just the sort of wasteful bureaucracy he would

get rid of if elected.



‘We already had in place an effective and transparent system,’ he says

referring to the IPR’s existing code of conduct and requirement for

members to declare any financial links with MPs. ‘We haven’t hidden and

wouldn’t hide anything, but I think the amount of bureaucracy involved

in this register is nonsensical’.



Of course, as Walker points out, the register is voluntary, so he is

breaking no rules. Though, the IPR tells me that, in fact, this is ‘far

from clear’. Apparently the question of whether not registering lobbying

activity is a breach of the IPR’s code was considered by its

professional practices committee several months ago. ‘They agreed to

defer a decision until somebody complains about a breach of the rules’,

says my IPR mole.



Transparent? It is as clear as mud to me.



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