Lobbying bill – where now and what next?

Where now?

Today is the launch of the second report by the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement. The report is a useful contribution to the debate on how the Lobbying bill can be improved, and echoes the concerns and recommendations NCVO has made.

The weeks of the “pause” have really brought civil society together, showing that the broadest range of organisations share the same concerns and want to reach similar solutions.

There are a only few minor differences between NCVO’s proposals and those made by the Commission on Civil Society. These relate to how coalition expenditure should be dealt with and the wider scope of regulated activities. In particular, there is some concern that the Commission’s recommendation on how to regulate coalitions doesn’t sufficiently reassure organisations wanting to join multiple campaigns. The concerns about restrictions on the freedom of association also remain if rallies and public events continue to be included in the rules.

What next?

It’s important that we focus on sending a clear message to the Lords – the problems with the bill remain of massive concern and it must be amended without delay.

The bill is due to be debated next week, on 16th and 18th December. So what can we do between now and then?

A number of peers are working very actively on the bill and we need to make sure they have the arguments and evidence they need to make an effective case so that government can understand our concerns and hear our proposals on how the bill can be improved. If you have a briefing or, even better, an example of a campaign that you think would be affected by the bill we suggest you talk to the following people (if you cc me we can also collate and send to others as appropriate):

Here are our suggested ‘top ten’ peers to talk to:

  1. Lord Wallace of Tankerness – currently leading for the Government on the bill.
  2. Lord Tyler – Liberal Democrat peer who has taken a strong interest in the bill
  3. Lord Hodgson – Conservative peer who conducted review of the Charities Act
  4. Lord Bishop of Derby – one of the most senior bishops working actively on the bill
  5. Baroness Hayter – Labour peer leading on the relevant part of the bill (part II)
  6. Baroness Grey Thompson – crossbencher and NCVO president
  7. Lord Bishop Harries – cross bench lead for the Commission on Civil Society
  8. Baroness Stedman Scott – Conservative Peer and CEO of Tomorrow’s People
  9. Baroness Tyler – Liberal Democrat peer, former Relate CEO and chair of CAFCASS
  10. Lord Ramsbotham – crossbench peer working actively on the bill

A word of warning – please don’t bombard these people with standard emails or briefings – a short personalised email or phone call, explaining how the bill could affect your organisation, will go much further.  We are at a crucial stage, when every contribution can make a difference. But it has to be a thoughtful one.

 

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Elizabeth Chamberlain Elizabeth is head of policy and public services at NCVO. She has been part of the policy team since 2008, as the expert on charity law and regulation. Her policy interests also include charity campaigning, the sector’s independence, transparency, and accountability.

4 Responses to Lobbying bill – where now and what next?

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  4. Ben Jones says:

    Hi,

    Please explain how this is even slightly fair.

    Thanks,

    Ben.