A new legal requirement to register lobbying activity will come into effect next week as the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 comes into force.
Designed to improve transparency about lobbying of politicians, Scotland’s Lobbying Register will require details of certain face-to-face lobbying to be added to a new online register.
From Monday 12 March, anyone who undertakes regulated lobbying as defined in the Act will need to register this activity at www.lobbying.scot.
Acting Lobbying Registrar, Dougie Wands said:
“The purpose of the Act is to improve transparency and the new online register is not only easy to use but will allow the public to see the lobbying activity which takes place.
“Over the past 18 months we have spoken to hundreds of individuals and organisations and with a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland to ensure they are aware about the Register coming into force and what this means for them.
“For anyone who undertakes face-to-face lobbying of MSPs, Scottish Government Ministers, Special Advisers or Permanent Secretary, you might, by law, have to register this from 12 March. Don’t get caught out. If you are unsure about whether this applies to you, contact the Lobbying Register Team and they can provide more details.”
Under the Act, those organisations which register before engaging in regulated lobbying will have up to six months to add details to the Lobbying Register. The Register will also allow members of the public to see just who is lobbying their politicians.
Dougie Wands added:
“The Lobbying Register is designed to be as accessible as possible for the public to explore and see what has been happening. Over the next six months as lobbying activity is added to the register, everyone will be able to see a clearer picture of those who seek to inform and influence our decision makers.”
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 should be fully operational within 18 to 24 months.
More background information about the Lobbying Register can be found here.
From 12 March 2018 the Lobbying Register will be fully accessible at www.lobbying.scot