Lobbying tsar praises industry for adhering to rules
Alison White said unregistered lobbying has been ‘rare’.
The regulator in charge of the lobbying register said her investigations have found little evidence of unregistered lobbying.
Alison White, the registrar of consultant lobbyists, praised the industry for approaching the register in a “professional manner” and believes lobbyists “try their hardest to comply properly and in a timely fashion”.
In the statement of accounts for the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, White said: “I have used information provided to me by whistle-blowing, review of ministerial diaries and other sources, to enhance the quality of my investigations.
“As a result, I have satisfied myself that evidence of unregistered consultant lobbying taking place is rare, and that the information contained in the register can be relied upon.”
The register was set up in 2015 and stirred controversy become members of the public affairs industry were blocked from taking the job.
It records those who lobby on behalf of a third party and requires them to declare their clients and whether they subscribe to a relevant code of conduct.
There are now 123 consultant lobbyists on the register, which includes lawyers, accountants, management consultants, think tanks and public affairs organisations.
However, the register has been criticised for not including in-house lobbyists on the register.
White revealed that throughout the year there have been “minor breaches” of the register due to administrative errors and “three instances of serious non-compliance” that have resulted in civil penalties.
On 28 and 29 April 2016 civil penalty notices were issued to MWW Communications, PHA Media and Rohde Public Policy.
They were issued for the undertaking of consultant lobbying during the first quarter of 2016 quarter despite late payment of the 2016 registration renewal fee.
The gross budget for the regulator reduced from £320,000 to £265,200 year-on-year, against which there was an over-spend of £2,882 (1.08%).