Inquiry into lobbying

 

Remit

To examine whether there is a problem, either actual or perceived, with lobbying and, if so, how this can most effectively be addressed; to what extent a register of lobbyists would help with this process, who such a register should cover and how it would be operated in practice; and whether other steps might be needed to improve probity and transparency in this area.

Timetable

The Committee published its report on 6 February 2015

Scottish Government Consultation

On 29 May 2015 the Scottish Government issued a consultation on the Proposals for a Lobbying and Transparency Bill. The closing date for the consultation is 24 July 2015.

Evidence

Written evidence

The Committee issued a call for evidence on 30 September 2013. The call for evidence closed on 10 January 2014

Read the written submissions received

Proposed Lobbying Transparency (Scotland) Bill

Oral Evidence

The Committee took oral evidence at its meetings on 16 and 30 January, 27 February and 13 March 2014.

Read the meeting papers and Offical reports

Report

The Committee published its report on 6 February 2015

Correspondence

On 6 February 2015 the Committee wrote to the Minister for Parliamentary Business and the SPCB regarding its report.

On 29 May 2015 the Scottish Government published a consultation. The Committee and SPCB both considered the consultation in June.

Having considered the Scottish Government consultation the Committee wrote again to the Minister for Parliamentary Business in July 2015.

Letter from Stewart Stevenson MSP, Convener of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee to Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business (208KB pdf)

Debate

The Committee held a committee debate in the Chamber on its initial findings on Thursday 6th November. The purpose of this was to allow other MSPs who are not on the committee to feed in views. The Committee has produced a summary of evidence received, intended to inform the debate.

Read the Official Report of the Debate

A number of organisations provided 100 word statements prior to the debate and views were sought on Facebook and Twitter using the #SPLobbying hashtag in order to get further views from stakeholders and the wider public ahead of the debate. These were fed to MSPs before the debate.

Read the views from Twitter

Additional Information

Session on 18 December 2014

The Committee has considered lots of written and oral evidence as part of its inquiry. It has also held a Chamber debate to hear the views of MSPs and has engaged individuals through social media debates. It is now discussing possible findings before producing a report to Parliament.

The Committee is clear that legitimate lobbying is a crucial element of a healthy democracy. The Committee is yet to decide whether, for reasons of transparency and accountability, to recommend a register of lobbyists. It is giving this option very careful consideration.

There was a strong emphasis in evidence on the need for any register to adopt a proportionate approach and to ensure that it does not deter or inhibit engagement with the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.

In addition, much of the evidence taken suggested that the principle of a register was appealing but it was difficult to envisage how a register would work in practice given the difficulty of:

  • deciding exactly what lobbying activity, or which lobbyists, should be registered; and
  • constructing a set of rules that ensures all of the relevant lobbying activity is captured.

To aid decision making the Committee has been modelling what a proportionate register might look like. The Committee has involved stakeholders throughout this process. As a continuation of this, the Committee decided to road-test a possible model for a register on a selection of stakeholders. It involved:

  • those who might need to register;
  • those who might consult the register; and
  • those who might need to oversee the register.

The session took place on 18 December. 

Scottish Government Consultation

On 29 May 2015 the Scottish Government issued a consultation on the Proposals for a Lobbying and Transparency Bill. The closing date for the consultation is 24 July 2015.

 

Contact: for further information on the work of the Committee you can contact the Clerks on 0131 348 6924 or by e-mail at: sppa.committee@scottish.parliament.uk

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