The date that Scotland’s new Lobbying Register will come into force has been announced today.
From Monday 12 March 2018 all regulated lobbying in Scotland, as defined in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act, will have to be registered on Scotland’s new Lobbying Register.
Passed in 2016, the Act states that certain face to face meetings with MSPs or the Scottish Government’s Ministers, Special Advisers or Permanent Secretary need to be registered.
The Acting Lobbying Registrar, Douglas Wands said:
“The Lobbying (Scotland) Act is intended to increase openness and transparency around who seeks to influence and inform our decision makers, and it is expected that the Lobbying Register will do just that.
“From 12 March 2018 all face to face lobbying activity as defined in the Act will need to be registered. Whilst this may seem like a big change, we have been working for many months with those who may be affected to ensure they are aware of what is required."
As well as announcing the date for the register, today also saw the announcement of a familiarisation period to allow people to view and explore the new register website themselves. This four month familiarisation period will begin on 23 October 2017.
Douglas Wands continued:
"It is vital that the system is not only transparent and informative but is easy to access and use.
“One of the things future users told us was that they wanted time to see how the system worked before the Act was brought into force. This is why we will allow early access to the Lobbying Register website to allow all users to familiarise themselves with the system alongside guidance which explains what will be required under the Act when it comes into force on 12 March 2018.”
The Lobbying Register will be available for familiarisation from 23 October at:
Lobbying Register Guidance
The Lobbying (Scotland) Act was passed in March 2016 before getting Royal Assent in April 2016. Following Royal Assent, it was envisaged that a ‘register of lobbyists’ should be fully operational within 18 to 24 months.
More information about the Lobbying Register can be found here.