Industry concern over lobbying tsar job

Written by David Singleton on 12 May 2014 in News

Government sidelines agency figures and former ministers from registrar role

Key members of the public affairs industry are being blocked from taking the job of enforcing the forthcoming lobbying register, PAN has established.

The commissioner for public appointments has begun a search for the position of registrar of consultant lobbyists, responsible for “establishing and managing the UK register of consultant lobbyists”.

However, it has controversially declared that anyone who has “carried on the businesses of consultant lobbying” will be ineligible for the position. Former ministers and civil servants are also being banned from taking the job.

The PRCA said the exclusions would prove to be counter-productive. Director general Francis Ingham said: “With so much for the registrar to clarify for the industry, we’re pleased to see the process has begun and we look forward to working closely with them in the future.

“However, while we understand that the registrar needs to be autonomous from the lobbying industry, we are concerned that by excluding any candidate who has been a consultant lobbyist or a minister at any point in the past five years, they are excluding a valuable pool of candidates who actually understand the world of public affairs.”

The PRCA boss added that he would now invite the successful candidate to spend a period of job-shadowing at a PRCA member consultancy “to gain valuable insights into the world of public affairs”.

The registrar of consultant lobbyists will be an independent, statutory office, which is being established as part of the Lobbying Act. The postholder will be responsible for establishing and managing the register; developing and publishing detailed guidance to industry on their duties under the Act; monitoring and enforcing the industry’s compliance with the Act’s legal requirements; and publishing an annual statement of accounts.

The registrar will be appointed for a term of no more than four years and will receive a daily allowance of £380. The closing date for applications is 19 May.

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