You are:

UKPAC says lets end the scrapping on the statutory register of lobbyists and start to work together to build trust in lobbying and politics

10 February 2014 Return to news listings


In an open letter to the Minister for the Cabinet Office UKPAC says it time for all involved to move on from commentary about what’s in and what’s not in the Transparency of Lobbying Act and deal with the practicalities of a new Register. UKPAC thinks the end of the legislative process is an opportunity for all those with an interest in responsible lobbying to think about what’s needed for lobbying to be valued and trusted in the longer-term.

The Chairman of UKPAC, George Kidd, says “The Government made clear it was intent on a statutory register with very limited coverage and its reasoning. But Ministers have also stressed the value they see in complementary arrangements to their statutory register. We see no need to re-invent wheels when work starts on the Government register. UKPAC and others can share years of experience managing a major industry-based register and thus minimise delay and costs. We are keen to hear how Government sees their limited statutory register sitting alongside industry self-regulation and the current UKPAC register of nearly 2,000 firms and individuals involved in lobbying and their thousands of clients and employers.

But we must be honest - there is also a sense of unfinished business here. Some are frustrated at being caught or half caught by the new coverage while others are not. Some still want to see regulation over conduct as well as on transparency, although the fact that the statutory register will now record adherence to industry codes of conduct is greatly welcomed. Others hope the Act marks the absolute end of old-style statutory intervention. And most if not all are looking to Government and Parliament to address transparency and behaviour on the part of the lobbied – a recurring issue.

The Bill’s passing allows everyone to stop arguing over definitions and seeking inclusion or exclusion from the provisions. We need, instead, to start to think what outcomes we want to achieve in coming years if we are to see greater trust and confidence in lobbying as part of the democratic process.

The debates around the Bill have established that lobbying is a core activity in charities, corporate bodies, unions, trade bodies as well as by lobby firms, lawyers and others who offer this as a professional service. The debate has made clear there are concerns over the transparency of lobbying and over the standards that should be followed by those who lobby – and those who are lobbied. It also brought to the surface the problems with a “one size fits all” approach. With a General Election looming and manifestos being drafted there is a case for a broad open-minded discussion about how to stop lobbying becoming a political football.”



7 February 2014

Dear Minister

I write, following the completion of the Transparency in Lobbying Bill, to take up earlier offers of dialogue on how voluntary and self-regulatory arrangements can complement your planned register.

UKPAC is well known to your department as the leading open register of lobbyists. Supported by CIPR and APPC we manage a register with over 400 employers, over 1,400 lobbyists and over 2,500 client entities.

The Government made clear throughout that it intended a statutory register with limited coverage. You were clear on your reasoning and this is now reflected in the Act. We questioned this approach at the outset but focused thereafter on the practical implications given our current register and the self-regulatory arrangements at CIPR, APPC and elsewhere.

We see no purpose now in arguments over old ground. We welcome the Government statements in both Houses on the importance of complementary non-statutory arrangements and strongly believe this should be our focus going forward. UKPAC was created to run a substantial register – and to do so economically. We stand ready to share our experiences in the hope that this will help minimise the new compliance costs for those who must join the statutory register.

When the Department is ready we are keen also to talk about how the statutory register might work alongside the self-regulation and voluntary registration that now exists: how we give real meaning to the concept of complementary arrangements.

We recognise, however, that the Bill stimulated an appetite for transparency and good government that the Act will not satisfy (and did not seek to satisfy). It is for all involved to take the opportunity that comes with the passing of the Act to reflect on how best to sustain levels of transparency and ethical behaviour in lobbying as part of the democratic process. As a body that has managed a non-statutory register for a number of years, working with professional and representative groups that operate self-regulatory Codes, we believe we can play a role in this debate.

We are sympathetic to the general principle that Government’s should only regulate when necessary and to the extent necessary. It will be for those who lobby in all their forms and groupings to show whether effective action on transparency and standards could command support and limit the need for state intervention.

Yours sincerely


George Kidd




Return to news listings

Follow us on Twitter

  1. No twitter found.