Standards Commission publishes Annual Report 2016 under Regulation of Lobbying Act
3 July 2017: The Standards in Public Office Commission today issued Annual Report 2016 under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.
The report covers the Commission’s activities in administering the Act for the 2016 reporting year.
Highlights of the report include operational details and determinations made by the Standards Commission throughout the year, information on communications and outreach undertaken by the Commission, the completion of first legislative review of the Act, and an analysis of levels of registration across the counties.
The Commission’s focus during 2016 was to continue to build understanding and encourage compliance with the Regulation of Lobbying Act. This approach and the significant efforts involved in establishing and implementing the new regulatory system have yielded positive results with over 1,600 individuals and organisations registered and over 11,000 returns of lobbying activities submitted to the Register to date.
Operational information contained in the report includes details of decisions made regarding applications to delay publication of information contained in registrations or returns, and applications to waive or reduce the Act's post-employment provisions.
2016 also saw the announcement of the scheduled commencement of the Act’s enforcement provisions, which give the Standards Commission the authority to investigate and prosecute contraventions of the Act, from 1 January 2017.
Commission Chairman Daniel O’Keeffe said, “I commented in the immediate aftermath of the first reporting deadline that the overall level of compliance was a very positive indicator that there is an acceptance of the need for openness and transparency in lobbying. This was further reflected in the number of registrations and returns received in respect of subsequent reporting periods.
The information now available on the register provides the Irish public with a valuable insight into the role that lobbying plays in shaping policy and funding decisions.”
While the Commission is generally very pleased with the response to date, it did note the ongoing need for education about the Act's requirements to ensure greater levels of registration in counties outside Dublin, as well as continued improvements in the quality of information available on the Register.
Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation Sherry Perreault said, “We will continue to reach out to potential registrants, particularly targeting counties and sectoral interests that may be under-represented on the Register.
We will enhance education efforts aimed at improving compliance with deadlines and ensuring that returns are meaningful. We will also continue to refine existing guidance as needed. And above all, we will seek to administer the Act in a fair, consistent and clear manner.”
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