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Draft Lobbying Transparency Bill Explanatory Notes

Clause 1.1 This clause makes it clear that all paid lobbyists should be required to register, not just those working on behalf of third parties, i.e. agency lobbyists as the government has proposed. In house lobbyists outnumber agency lobbyists by at least !"1.This clause makes clear that anyone who undertakes lobbying activity for payment must register, unless e#empt under clause !.!. Clause 1.$ The register would apply to lobbying directed at the %& central government only and not the devolved governments. 'cotland is currently proposing is own register of lobbyists. (obbying of local authorities could be incorporated at a later stage. Clause 1.) The register should be designed to capture only significant lobbying activity. This is irrespective of whether it is being done by a for profit, charitable or labour interest. Clause 1.* The +egistrar must be a body which is independent of both government and the lobbying industry. +ather than creating a new organisation, we propose that it should be given to an e#isting body that already has responsibility for maintaining registers. ,#amples would include the ,lectoral Commission and the Certification -fficer. The +egistrar should be publicly funded. .here other jurisdictions have implemented a lobbying register they have tended to create a new organisation so the costs are higher than for our proposals. In Canada an annual budget of /1.1 million 0*12,23$ 4 is spent on the administration of the +egistry at a national level. This includes salaries for the equivalent of si# full time employees dedicated primarily to providing registration assistance for lobbyists. The budget covers between /!11,111 to /511,111 invested annually in technical work to maintain and upgrade the system 1. The ,uropean %nion also operates a lobbying register. The operating budget of the 6oint Transparency +egister for $11) is 71)1,111 0111,!)1. It is estimated that, e#cluding IT maintenance and development as well as ,uropean 8arliament accreditation procedures, the equivalent of four full time staff 9two per institution: are mobilised to carry out the work associated with the +egister.

For more information on these costs see https://ocl-cal.gc.ca/eic/site/012.nsf/eng/00442.html

Clause $.1 ;ny lobbying by a constituent of an <8 would be e#empt from the register as it would not constitute paid lobbying. Clause $.$ This makes it clear that only communication instigated by a lobbyist would be included in the register. It does not seek to cover all interactions between government and outside interests. Clause $.) This makes clear that lobbying activity does not include participation in public debate on matters of government policy etc, where no attempt is made to directly communicate with officials. Clause ).$ The register must be available online and be fully searchable, sortable and downloadable. Clause ).) The standard scale is a system whereby fines in legislation have ma#imum levels set against a standard scale. Then, when inflation makes it necessary to increase the levels of the fines the legislators need to modify only the scale rather than each individual piece of legislation. Currently level 5 on the standard scale is 05111. Clause !.1 The register as proposed would not be a burden on lobbyists, who would complete an initial registration form, with quarterly updates on their lobbying activity. Clause !.$ %nder this proposal, the organisation, rather than individual lobbyist would be required to register, listing individual lobbyists. This would be the least onerous system. Clause !.) ;nyone who lobbies on behalf of a client would file a separate return for each client. Clause !.! The register is designed to record all significant lobbying activity. ;s such, there should be a threshold 4 based on lobbying spend 4 under which organisations would not have to register. This would e#empt small businesses and smaller charities. The level of the threshold should be widely consulted on. Clause !.5 This clause defines what constitutes lobbying activity. If someone is paid to undertake this, they must register 9unless e#empt under !.!:. 'ection c: acknowledges that many third party lobbyists have no direct contact with officials and act solely a advisers to clients on how to lobby government. 'ection d: also acknowledges the significant activity that goes in to supporting those who lobby directly.

Clause 5.1 This understands that an organisation will require more time to register its lobbying activity than an agency lobbyist, for whom registration of a client is triggered when work on that contract commences. Clause 5.$ This clause sets out the information that is required when an organisation makes an initial registration. The information required would be easy to gather. It includes" organisation details= names of lobbyists= and information on the lobbying activity, including what the organisation is lobbying on and whom in government is being lobbied. This information on the actual lobbying activity being undertaken is vital for the register to be meaningful. The ultimate purpose of a lobbying register is to increase government accountability by allowing the public to see lobbyists> dealings with officials. Therefore, it must include details of which public officials are being lobbied and what issues they are being lobbied on. The government>s proposals would not include this information. It proposed merely a list of lobbyists and their clients. Clause 2.1 -nce registered, lobbyists would be required to provide quarterly updates on their lobbying activity. ; quarterly filing would include information on which officials they have lobbied and what they have been lobbying on, as well as a requirement to disclose a good faith estimate of how much money has been spent on the lobbying activity. It is important to be able to see how much money is being invested in lobbying. 'uch disclosure would provide an indication of the scale of an organisation>s lobbying activity" lobbying is seen as a tactical investment by business, with an anticipated rate of return 9%' figures suggest that for every dollar spent on lobbying a company can e#pect /111 return:. It would also reveal the spending gap between, for e#ample, business and civil society groups, or multi nationals and non profits lobbying for government contracts. It would also show trends in lobbying activity. Clause *.1 ; Code of Conduct should be put in place in consultation with lobbyists from all sectors. It should set minimum standards of behaviour and should include, for e#ample, a ban on paying 8arliamentarians. Clause *.2 +eputation is important to professional lobbyists. The proposed sanction for breaching the Code of Conduct, which would require the +egistrar to inform officials of the breach, would be the most effective means of ensuring compliance with the Code.