UK lobbying response
11 Apr 2012
- The SWA should not be required to sign up to the lobbying
register, given that we do not represent a third party and that it
is transparent whose interests we represent when meeting with
Ministers or Government Officials.
- The SWA notes the Government's desire for increased
transparency with regard to meetings with Ministers and Government
Officials and commitment to a register that covers third party
- We believe that the register should not be extended to cover
all organisations that have dealings with the Government.
The SWA agrees with the definition of lobbying provided and that
the 'essential flow of communication between business leaders and
Government' should not be included, albeit it is not clear what
that means or whether it will in some way be defined. The register
should only cover third party lobbyists.
The proposals included in this consultation state that the aim
of the register is to provide clarity regarding who is meeting with
Government departments and Ministers and that only organisations
who act for a third party will be required to sign up to the
The SWA agrees with this definition and believes that clarity
surrounding who is meeting Government Officials and Ministers could
increase transparency and faith in the decision-making process.
When Government departments publish details of external
meetings, there is no doubt as to the subject matter discussed when
the SWA is included on such a list. This is the case for many
organisations and we therefore believe that there is no need to
extend the register to cover all companies that have dealings with
the Government. Such a move would be unnecessary given that
external meetings are already published by Government departments.
A move to require all lobbyists to complete a register, especially
where it is obvious whose interest they represent, would be
contradictory to the Government's commitment to reduce burden on
In its desire to introduce a lobbying register, the Government
should be aware of unintended consequences and the drawing up of
what is regarded as lobbying. For example, it could be
difficult to quantify what percentage of a person's time would be
classed as lobbying, (ie a Distillery Manager taking a Minister
round a plant for example). The register should remain for third
party representatives only.
This response does not provide details on the issues
surrounding: information to be included in the register, frequency
of returns, additional functions, funding and sanctions, given that
the transparency of the SWA's activity is such that it should not
be required to be part of the register. However, we would underline
the need for the cost and administrative burden associated be kept
to an absolute minimum to avoid the register acting as a barrier to
participation in the political process.
Should the Government change its approach and extend the
register to include in-house lobbyists we believe a further
consultation will be necessary to fully understand issues impacting
on this group that the Government has indicated it does not intend
any register to cover.