The new Lobbying Act comes into effect tomorrow, 1st of September 2015. CIF Director General Tom Parlon has written to Federation members outlining what the Act will mean for the CIF.
“As a body which exists primarily to represent the interests of its members and has one or more full-time employees involved in lobbying, the CIF is covered by the legislation, as are our constituent Associations and Branches. As such, we are registered on line at www.lobbying.ie
The new Lobbying Act was introduced on 1st May 2015, and is designed to provide information to the public in a transparent fashion about:
- Who is lobbying?
- What are the issues involved?
- What is the intended result of the lobbying?
- Who is being lobbied?
This will be done via a publicly accessible website: www.lobbying.ie where lobbyists are obliged to register such information about their lobbying activities. The Act will be regulated by the Standards in Public Office Commission & a Code of Conduct.
What is “Relevant Communication”?
CIF, as well as any of our members must record all activities where any staff member communicates, either directly or indirectly, with a ‘Designated Public Official’ on a ‘relevant matter’ which is defined as:
- Initiation, development or modification of any public policy or programme
- Amendment of any law (including secondary legislation such as statutory instruments and bye-laws)
- Award of financial support involving public funds
- Any one individual communicating about their own development and zoning of land
- Pre-litigation correspondence
Irrelevant matters (activities that do not need to be disclosed):
- Technical matters.
- Matters relating only to the implementation of a policy, programme, enactment or award.
- Factual information: Communications requesting factual information or providing factual information in response to a request for the information from a public official.
- Published submissions: Communications requested by a public service body and published by it.
- Oireachtas committees: Communications which are made in proceedings of a committee of either House of the Oireachtas.
- Policy working groups: Communications between members of a relevant body appointed by a Minister, or by a public service body, for the purpose of reviewing, assessing or analysing any issue of public policy with a view to reporting to the Minister or public service body on it.
Designated Public Officials
Minister’s & Ministers of State
TDs & Senators
Secretary Generals & Assistant Secretaries in the Civil Service
Chief Executive Officers & Directors of Services in Local Authorities
This list may be extended at any time by Ministerial Order.
Important Dates for members
- 1st September 2015: The Act will come into full effect. All lobbying activities from this day forward must be recorded.
- 21st of January 2016: Deadline for the first set of returns, which will cover the period
- There will be a total of 3 returns per calendar year.
The Act is due to be reviewed in 1 year, and every 3 years thereafter. The CIF Communications department will be coordinating the collection of lobbying activities by CIF staff members on a monthly basis from the 1st of September 2015 onwards.
I strongly emphasise that members are responsible for their own registration and compilation of lobbying activities, except in circumstances where a CIF employee has requested that the lobbying takes place. Members who engage in lobbying activities and who have not already registered at www.lobbying.ie must do so as a matter of urgency.
If you have any queries in relation to the Act, or its implications, please contact Rosalind Travers in our communications Department: [email protected]“