Standards in Public Office Commission publishes its 2018 Annual Report under the Regulation of Lobbying Act

 

Thursday 27 June 2019: The 2018 Annual Report of the Standards in Public Office Commission under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 was launched today in Dublin by Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation, Sherry Perreault.

The report covers the Commission’s activities in administering the Act for the 2018 reporting year, including enforcement activities undertaken during the year.

Speaking at the launch event, Ms Perreault said, “What we have seen in the past few years is that compliance is becoming the norm. The system is robust, with more than 1,800 registrants from all sectors of the economy. It is clear that lobbying is becoming increasingly transparent, and the public can see more easily who is seeking to influence decision-making”. 

Solid 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 2018. Health continued to be the policy area most lobbied about, followed by: economic development and industry; agriculture; education and training, and justice and equality.

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 2018,the Commission issued decisions on two applications to reduce or waive the one-year cooling-off period imposed by the Act, and one application to delay publication of returns.

The first known breach of the Act’s post-employment provisions also occurred in 2018. Breaches of post-employment provisions are not offences under the Act, and the Commission does not have the power to impose sanctions or prosecute such breaches. In its annual report, the Commission renews its call for changes to the Act to strengthen its post-employment provisions and provide the Commission with the necessary enforcement powers.  

Other highlights of the report include:

-       operational details and determinations made by the Commission in 2018;

-       the launch of the Code of Conduct, which came into effect in January 2019 and sets standards of conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities;

-       information on the Commission’s enforcement activities in 2018;

-       an overview of key issues encountered throughout the year, and

-       recommendations for legislative change.

A public consultation process for the second legislative review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act, led by the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform, is ongoing. The Commission has made a number of recommendations for legislative change. The Commission’s submission to the review is available on the website.

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:

 

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. The enforcement provisions of the Act commenced subsequently, on 1 January 2017.

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 Standards in Public Office Commission was created in 2001, and oversees legislation governing ethics in public office, electoral finance, expenditure of State funding, and the regulation of lobbying. In 2015, the Commission appointed Sherry Perreault as Ireland’s first Head of Lobbying Regulation.