Guidelines for people carrying on lobbying activities

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Introduction

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (no 5 of 2015) (the Act) was signed into law in March 2015, and commenced on 1 September 2015.

 

Lobbying is an essential part of the democratic process through which citizens may make their views on public policy and public services known to politicians and public servants. Organisations such as interest groups, representative bodies, industry and civil society organisations, NGOs, charities and third party professional lobbyists all provide necessary input and feedback to politicians and public servants through communication of their views and concerns. The aim of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 is not to restrict the flow of information or views on policy or legislation. The intention is to bring about significantly greater openness and transparency with respect to lobbying activities.

 

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 is designed to provide information to the public about:

  • Who is lobbying
  • On whose behalf is lobbying being carried out
  • What are the issues involved in the lobbying
  • What is the intended result of the lobbying
  • Who is being lobbied

 

In general, the Act applies to commercial organisations which have more than 10 full time employees; representative bodies with at least one full time employee; and advocacy groups, non-governmental organisations and charities which have at least one full time employee and which promote particular interests or causes, and professionals engaged in lobbying on behalf of a client who fits within the above criteria . In certain circumstances, the Act may apply to individuals and groups who may not ordinarily regard themselves as carrying on lobbying activities.

 

The Act aims to make lobbying more open and transparent by providing for

  • The establishment and maintenance of an on-line Register of Lobbying;
  • Obligations on lobbyists to register and to provide information regularly about their lobbying activities, including, in the case of professional lobbyists, information about their clients;
  • The Standards in Public Office Commission (Standards Commission) to be the regulator of lobbying;

The imposition of a cooling-off period on certain lobbying activities that may be carried out by some former public officials.