Standards in Public Office Commission publishes its Annual Report 2017 under the Regulation of Lobbying Act

 

Thursday 28 June 2018: The Standards in Public Office Commission (the Commission) today issued its 2017 Annual Report under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

 

The report covers the Commission’s activities in administering the Act for the 2017 reporting year, including enforcement activities undertaken since the commencement of the Act’s enforcement provisions on 1 January 2017.

 

Highlights of the report include: operational details and determinations made by the Commission in 2017; publication of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform’s report on the first review of the operation of the Act; the commencement of the Act’s enforcement provisions; an overview of key issues encountered throughout the year and recommendations for legislative change.

 

Strong levels of compliance with the Act are continuing, as evidenced by registration and return figures: almost 10,000 returns of lobbying activities were submitted in respect of the three reporting periods in 2017 by more than 1,700 registrants. Health continued to be the policy area most lobbied about, followed by economic development and industry, agriculture, justice and equality, and housing.

 

The quality of information submitted to the register is reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that returns are meaningful and compliant with the spirit and letter of the Act.

 

Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation Sherry Perreault said, “Improving the quality of the information on the Register has been a key priority this year. With experience, registrants have honed their skills, and combined with tailored feedback, the quality of returns has improved from one deadline to the next.”

 

Other operational information contained in the report includes details of decisions made regarding applications to delay publication of information contained in returns, and applications to waive or reduce the Act's post-employment provisions. In 2017, the Commission issued decisions on five applications to reduce or waive the one-year cooling-off period imposed by the Act, and two applications to delay publication of returns.

 

The Commission also reports on enforcement activities undertaken in 2017, such as the levying of 522 fixed payment notices for late returns. The Commission continues to place a strong emphasis on encouraging compliance through education and outreach. While summonses issued in a number of cases of non-compliance, the Commission was successful in achieving compliance without proceeding to prosecution.

 

Planned activities in 2018 include the launch of a consultative process with a view to developing a code of conduct for lobbying, as provided for in section 16 of the Act. It is expected that the Code will be completed by the end of 2018.

 

For more information, and to read the Commission's annual report on the Regulation of Lobbying, visit the website www.lobbying.ie.

 

For further information please contact:

 

Rosanne Meehan, Press Officer
Standards in Public Office Commission
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
(01) 639 5722

 

Email:             info@lobbying.ie
Website:         www.lobbying.ie
Twitter:           @LobbyingIE

 

Background:

 

On 1 September 2015, the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 commenced, and with it, the requirement for those who lobby designated public officials to register and report on their lobbying activities every four months.

 

Information submitted to the Register is available for public inspection at www.lobbying.ie. The website, which includes the online register, also has a suite of information tools designed to help lobbyists, designated public officials and the public to fully understand the Act and its obligations.

 

The Register is overseen by the Standards in Public Office Commission.