First return date for lobbying activities – 21 January 2016

January 2016

Changes introduced by the Lobbying Act 2015

On 1 September 2015 the Lobbying Act 2015 was introduced requiring those who lobby public officials to register their activities and make quarterly returns in relation to those activities. The first return date for lobbying activities is today, 21 January 2016. The current return is in respect of the period 1 September 2015 to 21 January 2016.

Who is a Lobbyist:

  • An employer with more than 10 employees where the communications are made on your behalf.
  • A representative body with at least one employee communicating on behalf of its members and the communication is made by a paid employee or office holder of the body.
  • An advocacy body with at least one employee that exists primarily to take up particular issues and a paid employee or office holder of the body is communicating on such issues.
  • A professional lobbyist being paid to communicate on behalf of a client who fits into one of the preceding three categories.

Information to be contained in the Return:

  • Names of any public service bodies and designated officials communicated with.
  • The subject of the lobbying communications and the results they were intended to secure.
  • The extent and type of lobbying activities.
  • The name of the person who has primary responsibility for lobbying activities.
  • The name of any person who is or was a designated official (former Minister, Special Adviser etc.) who is employed or providing service to the registered entity and is engaged in lobbying activities.

It is recommended that in entities where a number of individuals may be involved in lobbying activities that one person is appointed as a Compliance Officer to be responsible for considering whether the activity falls within the definitions of the Act and if so recording the details of the lobbying. Ultimately this person should also take responsibility for filing the return. Data may be entered on the register on an ongoing basis and may be saved in draft form (on a private area of the register) prior to its formal submission.

Once a return has been made the register will be available to the public including competitors, those lobbied and journalists, and as such care should be taken that the lobbying activities are consistent with other communications and it should be noted that media queries may result from the return.

For more information, contact your usual Whitney Moore contact or Emma Richmond in our Employment Group.