Advisory Group Meeting – 15 November 2016
Record of main issues
Sherry Perreault (Chairperson), Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPOC); Aidan Moore, SIPOC; Elaine Laird, SIPOC; Damien Egan, SIPOC; Niamh O’Byrne, SIPOC; Jim O’Keeffe, SIPOC; Bernie Orr, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER); Mossy Breen, Dovetail
Sheila Nordon, ICTR; Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland; John Carroll, PRII & PRCA; Bryan Rankin, Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies; Cormac Ó’Cúláin, Law Society; Pat Galvin, Eircom; Niall Shanahan, IMPACT; Sean O’Leary, Irish Planning Institute; Denis Barry, Revenue Commissioners
Apologies: Justice Daniel O’Keeffe, SIPOC; Madeleine Delaney, Legal Advisor; Joan Martin, CCMA; Martin Lambe, Irish Tax Institute; Ivan Cooper, The Wheel; Siobhán Masterson, IBEC; Paul Gordon, Irish Cancer Society; Elaine Farrell, Irish Farmers’ Association; Shirley Coulter, Bar Council
- Sherry Perreault provided an update on recent developments:
o A review has been completed of registrants who have not met their obligations for submitting returns. This exercise has increased compliance, and has also helped to identify where registrants have mistakenly registered or ceased lobbying.
o A letter will issue to DPOs reminding them of best practices to support the Act’s effective implementation. It is planned that such communications with the DPO community will take place annually.
o An FAQ clarifying the exemption for communications made in the “ordinary course of business” for ministerial shareholder organisations is being drafted.
o The Standards Commission has published its submission to the Legislative Review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 on the website.
o The first anniversary of the Act was marked with several outreach events.
o The Group was briefed on several structural and staffing changes within the Standards Commission Secretariat. Sherry Perreault has assumed responsibility for the ethics and electoral areas of the Commission’s remit in addition to lobbying. A new Complaints and Investigations Unit has been created and staffed.
- Bernie Orr provided an update from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform:
The department is currently on track to complete the Legislative Review of the Act by February 2017. Twenty-eight submissions were received from a wide range of stakeholders, and will be posted on the department’s website.
- Aidan Moore and Sherry Perreault provided an update on preparation for commencement of the Act’s enforcement provisions on 1 January 2017. It was noted that returns for lobbying within the current reporting period (1 September – 31 December) are due 21 January. Enforcement provisions will apply to late returns or unreported lobbying activity within this period.
- The Group noted the importance of developing tools to measure and report on performance.
- It was agreed that Advisory Group members would pursue input to the Legislative Review separately rather than as a group.
- Sherry Perreault informed the group that the development of a Code of Conduct was expected to begin before the end of 2017.
- As the key objectives of the Advisory Group with respect to implementation of the Act have been met, it was agreed that the Group would suspend its activities for the present. The Standards Commission may reconvene the Group at a future date should consultation be required. Sherry Perreault thanked the members for their dedication, participation and contribution to the group.