Public Affairs Board welcomes proposed lobbying code consultation

The Public Affairs Board – representing a majority of organisations declaring a code of conduct on the Register of Consultant Lobbyists – has welcomed proposals for a new consultation on codes and their relevancy to lobbying.

In answer to a question from Jon Trickett MP about codes of conduct and the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, Kevin Foster MP, Interim Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for the Constitution), Cabinet Office, noted that it was for the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists to determine whether a code of conduct that a registrant wishes to declare was “relevant”. He added that the Registrar will “shortly launch a consultation on codes of conduct”.

The majority of registrants stating a code of conduct on the Register of Consultant Lobbyists declare the PRCA Public Affairs Code, which is backed by a working definition. More registrants declare no code of conduct than all the other independent codes (including the Solicitor’s Code, Chartered Institute of Public Relations Code of Conduct, and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Code of Ethic) put together.

The PRCA Public Affairs Board has, in writing, raised its specific concerns with the Registrar and will respond constructively to the proposed consultation. The last stakeholder consultation undertaken by Registrar was at the end of 2017.

Emma Petela CMPRA and George McGregor CMPRCA, Co-chairs, Public Affairs Board, said: “For the first time since the creation of the Register of Consultant Lobbyists, a majority of registrants declaring a code of conduct declare a single, relevant code: the PRCA Public Affairs Code, the industry’s ethical gold-standard.

“With this comes the responsibility not merely to protect and enhance the reputation of the public affairs industry, but to call for – and work towards – evidence-based policy and regulation.

“Having raised the issue since the PRCA Public Affairs Board was formed through merger in November, we therefore welcome comments that the Registrar will be consulting on codes of conduct. We not only support him in his work but would ask the industry to engage with this opportunity to remedy a situation whereby registrants can declare what we view as irrelevant – and often self-composed – codes of conduct.”

The PRCA response to a previous consultation on codes of conduct conducted in 2016 can be viewed here.

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