THE BLOG

Lobbying: It's All About Transparency

17/10/2011 09:51 | Updated 16 December 2011

Strange thing this latest 'lobbying' scandal.

Once again - like the last 'scandal' in March 2010 which involved journalists posing as lobbyists - this time there are no real 'lobbyists' to be seen.

Just someone posing as a lobbyist, among other things.

Tomorrow we will get the Cabinet Office report on the Adam Werritty affair and one thing is clear - Werritty was not part of the current self-regulatory process, not a member of CIPR Public Affairs, the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC), or the PRCA.

I had never heard of him before and very few have.

What this 'scandal' does expose is the need to have a transparent system. One with checks and balances.

We need to root out the Werritty's of this world and ensure that all groups - business, unions and charities - operate on the same transparent level playing field.

As a member of the APPC, my company has always declared its clients and its staff. As Chairman of the CIPR PA group I also make a similar self-declaration, as do our members.

The Spinwatch campaign calls for declaration of those who are lobbying and the interests they represent. That is exactly what I and the members of the self-regulatory groups do. I have done this for over a decade now.

The Coalition Agreement called for a statutory register. Personally I have no problem with such a move as long as it applies equally to everyone who lobbies. Any new register must have that as a key principle.

Government needs to talk to business and to charities and employee groups as well. That's how you make good policy.

What problem are we trying to solve here?? Simply to root out those who will not stand up for transparency.

Iain Anderson is Director and Chief Corporate Counsel of Cicero Group and Chairman of the CIPR Public Affairs Group