Think tanks and lobbying: statutory register must be expanded

Responding the recent press coverage about alleged links between think tanks and the lobbying process, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has welcomed comments from Alison White, Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, and again called for the statutory lobbying register to be expanded to include all lobbyists rather than simply some third-party consultants. 

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said:

“Think tanks play a vibrant and vital part in the political process. But recent coverage simply adds to the mistaken belief that somehow the lobbying process is unethical and broken. It is neither.

“What most certainly is broken is the model of the current statutory register, as determined by the Lobbying Act of 2014. By excluding all in-house lobbyists, and only triggering registration when a select group of policy-makers are lobbied, the result is that a tiny percentage of lobbyists and lobbying are included on the statutory register. And those very narrow boundaries reduce public trust in lobbying.

“For the sake of public trust and faith in the policy process, there must be a truly inclusive register. That register must cover all third-party lobbyists rather than just some; all in-house practitioners, all trade unions, and all trade associations. And yes, all think tanks. This is an argument we have been making for years. The best time to have included all lobbyists was when the register was established. The next best time is right now.”


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