Amid concerns about the influence some individuals, groups and organisations can have on decision making, the Scottish Parliament is setting up a Lobbying Register. This will come into force in March of next year.
Lobbying is: “the activity of trying to persuade someone in authority, usually an elected member of a government, to support laws or rules that give your organization or industry an advantage ” Cambridge Dictionary.
All regulated lobbying in Scotland, as defined in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act, will have to be registered on Scotland’s new Lobbying Register.
a person engages in regulated lobbying if the person makes a communication which—
- is made orally to a member of the Scottish Parliament, a member of the Scottish Government, a junior Scottish Minister, a special adviser or the permanent secretary,
- is made in person or, if not made in person, is made using equipment which is intended to enable an individual making a communication and an individual receiving that communication to see and hear each other while that communication is being made,
- is made in relation to Government or parliamentary functions, and
- is not a communication of a kind mentioned in the schedule, or
- in the course of a business or other activity carried on by the person, an individual makes such a communication as an employee, director (including shadow director) or other office-holder, partner or member of the person.
This is not about you as a citizen raising a concern with a MSP or sending in a response to a Scottish Parliament consultation. That is a fundamental part of the role of MSPs and Parliament: to respond to issues brought to them by members of the public. A list of communications which are not lobbying can be found here .
You will be able to view the Lobbying Register from 23rd of October at lobbying.scot
Those who wish to use it can register and familiarise themselves with it.
From the 12th of March 2018
“the Lobbying Register website must be used by anyone who engages in regulated lobbying to record details of their activities. The Register is also searchable by anyone with an interest in finding out about regulated lobbying activity that has taken place.“
Douglas Wands, The Acting Lobbying Registrar in the Scottish Parliament said:
“It is vital that the system is not only transparent and informative but is easy to access and use.”
Guidance will also be issued on a Code of Conduct for those who engage in Lobbying.