What are the type of implementation matters or matters of a technical nature which are not regarded as lobbying?

Section 5(9) of the Act defines what is regarded as a “relevant matter”.  Section 5(9) provides that a relevant matter does not include the following:

  • any matter relating to the implementation of a policy, programme or enactment;
  • any matter relating to the implementation of an award of any grant, loan or other financial support, contract or other agreement, or of any licence or other authorisation involving public funds; or
  • any matter of a technical nature.

 Examples of the difference between what might be regarded as a relevant matter and an “implementation” matter are as follows:

1)      Communications seeking to introduce or amend a particular tax policy or law would be regarded as communications concerning a relevant matter.  Where a policy has been decided and the tax law has subsequently been enacted communication regarding application of the law would most likely be regarded as implementation matters.

 2)      Communications relating to the inclusion of certain criteria in a public tender would be regarded as a communication on a relevant matter and as a lobbying activity. When the criteria are agreed and a Request for Tenders is published, communications such as the submission of a tender; queries regarding the tender specifications and feedback on the outcome of the tender would be regarded as implementation matters.

Our “Guidelines for persons carrying on lobbying activities” outline further examples of an implementation matter. For example, communications relating to the development of criteria for schemes of housing grants, development of criteria for selecting builders to build schools or development of criteria for the awarding of a licence to provide transport on a specific route would be regarded as lobbying activity. The implementation of those grant schemes (the assessment of whether or not an individual would qualify) or licence competitions, or the implementation of tender processes through e-tenders would be regarded as implementation matters.

As regards matters of a technical nature an example might be where the Government is proposing policy or legislation to reduce motor car emissions.  Communications regarding the proposed policy or legislation would be regarded as concerning a relevant matter and as a lobbying activity.  When the legislation is in place queries to the regulatory department concerning how to conform with the new requirements would most likely be technical matters and would not be regarded as a lobbying activity. Communications seeking to change the requirements would likely be a relevant matter and therefore lobbying.


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