Lobbying is a discipline within public relations where the general intention of the activity is to inform and influence public policy and law. 'Lobbyists' are practitioners who execute planned and sustained efforts to deliver specific objectives within this broad profile of activity.
In 2012, the CIPR, PRCA and APPC agreed on the following definition.
"Lobbying services" means activities which are carried out in the course of a business for the purpose of:
(a) influencing government, or
(b) advising others how to influence government.
NB This can include consultants, in-house practitioners and agency employees and so this is a cross industry practice.
The CIPR has published a professional standard for lobbying, explaining the CIPR Code of Conduct in the specific context of public affairs.
Statutory Register of Consultant Lobbyists
In 2015 the UK Government launched the Register for Consultant Lobbyists in an attempt to address the issue of transparency in lobbying. An organization is required to join the statutory register if they engage in lobbying activities as defined by the Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014.
Further information on the register can be found here.
Updated Guidance on Register for Consultant Lobbyists - Feb 2020 (PDF)
Due to the narrow scope of the legislation, those required to register constituted a small proportion of the UK's lobbying industry. This results in the public unable to access meaningful and accurate information about lobbying.
The CIPR has long taken the view that existing lobbying legislation regarding the register is not fit for purpose and needs changing. Read our policy position paper here.
To deliver greater transparency and raise professional standards of practice, CIPR launched a new universal voluntary register: the UK Lobbying Register (UKLR).
UK Lobbying Register (UKLR)
In July 2015, following the closure of the UK Public Affairs Council (UKPAC), the CIPR launched the UK Lobbying Register (UKLR), a new universal voluntary lobbying register available to all professionals engaged in lobbying within the UK.
The UKLR, which is free of charge to search and register, provides the public with a channel to complain about the conduct of a registered lobbyist.
All lobbyists – agency, in-house or freelance – are welcome to join. It is a requirement of CIPR membership for any members who lobby to join. All registrants are bound by a code of conduct, either the CIPR's or another relevant and effective code.
The CIPR have written to both the House of Commons and House of Lords enclosing our Professional Lobbying document, which seeks to drive the conversation on transparency and higher professional standards in lobbying.
From time to time, we ask members for their views on changes to government policy.
If you have any opinions that you would like to put forward on the below, email Jon Gerlis: firstname.lastname@example.org.