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Government is currently consulting on plans to create a statutory register of lobbyists which could include charities. The aim of the register is to increase transparency by making available to the public, decision-makers and others easily-accessible information about who is lobbying and for whom. At the same time Government are keen not to prevent essential activity for a vibrant democracy, so for example, the register is not intended to cover the normal interaction between constituents and their MPs or the flow of communication between business leaders, community organisations and Government.
Voice4Change England welcome the consultation and think it raises a number of important questions including:
- What is lobbying? And does everyone recognise that they are lobbying?
- What organisations should be included? Does it include charities, incorporated groups and informal groups?
- Is there a balance to be drawn between those who lobby for public benefit and those who lobby for commercial interest?
- What is the role of existing regulation by the Charity Commission?
- Where would accountability for registering lie within charities and how could we ensure small charities are sufficiently aware of the register, particularly if there are penalties for not registering?
- What are the cost implications, especially for small charities?
To make your views heard reply directly to the consultation by 13thApril: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/proposals-register-lobbyists
Or take part in NCVO’s short survey: http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/lobbyistsregister