Introducing a statutory register of lobbyists by Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Political and Constitutional Reform Committee Book Summary:
The proposals in the Government's consultation paper, Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists (Cm 8233, ISBN 9780101823326), focused the register on those who undertake lobbying activities on behalf of a third party client. Under the proposals, a lobbyist who worked in house for a large company such as News International would not be required to register, whereas a 'one-man band' lobbyist would be, and have to name their clients, and pay for the privilege. There is no evidence to suggest that third party lobbyists are a particular problem within the lobbying community; the Government's own records of ministerial meetings suggest that third party lobbyists make up less than 1% of all meetings with Ministers. The Government should abandon its plans and introduce regulation to cover all those who lobby professionally, in a paid role, including those who lobby on behalf of charities, trade unions, and think tanks. The Committee specifically recommends the Government: publish information about ministerial meetings no more than a month after the month in which the meeting occurred; improve the level of detail in meeting disclosures, so that the actual topic of a meeting is disclosed, rather than obscure terms like 'general discussion'; publish, where applicable, the company or charity number of any organisation that meets with Ministers or officials, so that the identity of the organisation can be properly verified; standardise the format of meeting data, with a view to publishing all ministerial and official meetings on one website, rather than on many different Government websites.