The Regulation of Lobbying: Consultation paper and draft Code of Conduct

Author: James Roddy

July 4, 2018

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (“the Act”) commenced on 01 September 2015. Part 2 of the Act introduced a requirement for those who lobby designated public officials to register and report on their lobbying activities every four months.

Under Part 3 of the Act, Section 16 makes provision for a Code of Conduct and section 16(1) provides that the Standards in Public Office Commission (“the Commission”) may produce, and from time to time revise, a code of conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities with a view to promoting high professional standards and good practice.

Section 16(2) of the Act provides that, before producing a Code of Conduct, the Commission shall consult with such persons carrying on lobbying activities, such bodies representing them and such other persons as the Commission considers appropriate.

Consultation paper and draft Code of Conduct

The Commission recently published its Annual Report for 2017 and outlined therein that one of the planned activities in 2018 will include the launch of a consultative process with a view to developing a Code of Conduct for lobbying. The Commission has now launched this consultative process and is seeking submissions on the development of a Code of Conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities.

To assist the process a consultation paper and a draft Code of Conduct have been prepared. The draft Code of Conduct is for consideration only and does not reflect what may or may not be included in the final published Code of Conduct. A Copy of the consultation paper can be accessed here and a copy of the draft Code of Conduct can be accessed here.

The aim of the draft Code of Conduct as recited in the Preamble section is as follows:

The Act, together with this Code of Conduct and associated regulations, guidelines and standards of conduct applicable to Office Holders, elected representatives and public servants, aims to ensure that lobbying activities are conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparency and integrity, and that decisions are made in the public interest

The draft Code of Conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities sets out the following nine principals for persons carrying on lobbying activities to have regard to:

  1. Demonstrating Respect for Public Bodies
  2. Acting with Honesty and Integrity
  3. Ensuring Accuracy of Information
  4. Disclosure of Identity and Purpose of Lobbying Activities
  5. Disclosure of interests
  6. Preserving Confidentiality
  7. Avoiding Improper Influence
  8. Observing the provisions of the Regulation of Lobbying Act
    1. Registrations and Returns
    2. “Cooling off” period
  9. Having regard for the Code of Conduct

The closing dated for submission for this consultation process is Friday 27 July 2018 and further information about the process can be accessed here.

A link to all of our blogs similar to this one is available here.

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