The Regulation of Lobbying Register comes into effect on 1st September 2015, meaning you must record communications and activity that come under the scope of the Act from this date.
The purpose of the Act is to provide for a web-based Register of Lobbying to make information available to the public on the identity of those communicating with designated public officials on specific policy, legislative matters or prospective decisions. The Act also provides restrictions and conditions on the taking up of certain employments by certain designated officials for a specified period of time where a possible conflict of interest arises.
The Regulation of Lobbying legislation is designed to provide information to the public about who is lobbying whom about what. Volume 42 of the Citizens Information Board's Relate magazine gives a comprehensive introduction to the legislation and is recommended reading.
Part 4 of the Act will commence on 1 January 2017. The provisions contained in Part 4 give the Standards Commission the authority to investigate and prosecute contraventions of the Act and to levy fixed payment notices for late filing of lobbying returns.
Why is this relevant to members?
When communicating with public officials or representatives regarding the zoning or development of land, individuals and groups who may not ordinarily regard themselves as carrying on lobbying activities, may find that the Act also applies to them. As called for by the Institute there are Guidelines that specifically deal with lobbying in relation to zoning and development.
These guidelines are essential reading for any IPI member.
The media are likely to take a keen interest in the Lobbying Register. When recording an activity it is advised that any media angles should be considered.
How does it work?
If you are lobbying then you must register on this website and make a return every four months, but we encourage you to record any relevant activity on the site as you go along and ensure you have robust internal procedures to make sure any relevant communications are captured and recorded. Please note that if you are registered and have not carried on any lobbying activities in the most recent returns period, you are still obliged to submit a “nil return”.
You will need to register and verify your details on www.lobbying.ie before you can record your lobbying activity on the site.
The Register of Lobbying is maintained by the Standards in Public Office Commission.
SIPO's annual report in regard to the regulation of lobbying can be found here.
The Standards Commission can be contacted by any of the means outlined below:
Address: 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, D02 HE97
Phone: +353-1-639 5722
The IPI sits on SIPO’s Regulation of Lobbying Advisory Group.If you have any comments or queries on the Regulation of Lobbying and planning contact Seán O’Leary – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 8788630.