Lobbying – let’s get this right

Since we wrote to Chloe Smith MP last week about Part II of the Lobbying Bill, we have been overwhelmed by the number and range of organisations wanting to sign up to the letter. The full list of signatories demonstrates the level of concern within the sector about the current proposals, not only from those who could be seen as the “usual suspects” (i.e. the big campaigning organisations) but also those organisations that, while mainly service deliverers, want to engage in the public policy process to advance their charitable purposes and benefit the people they represent.

Charities and other voluntary groups understand and share the objective of increasing transparency, both in lobbying and in campaigning expenditure. But there is a strong sense that the Bill as currently drafted would not achieve this objective and would deter many legitimate activities organisations undertake as part of their mission.

The Bill is being debated in Parliament today and we are hoping that the outcome will be a decision from the House to set up a Committee that will give sufficient time and thought to the proposals. Only by allowing scrutiny and consultation can this part of the Bill achieve its aim and be workable for all those involved.

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Elizabeth Chamberlain Elizabeth was head of policy and public services at NCVO until 2020.

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