SCVO to consult members over Scottish parliamentary inquiry into lobbying

The membership body in Scotland will submit evidence to the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee

Scottish parliament
Scottish parliament

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations will consult members on its response to the Scottish parliament’s inquiry into lobbying, which includes a proposal to introduce a register of lobbyists.

A spokeswoman at the SCVO said it would submit evidence to the Scottish parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee once it had consulted members. She said that the SCVO supported plans to make lobbying more transparent but did not support a register of lobbyists.

"It goes without saying that the SCVO strongly supports the pursuit of a more transparent and accountable political system in Scotland, but a register of lobbyists isn’t the way to achieve this," she said. "It should be up to our elected officials to uphold the integrity of politics in Scotland, and this can be achieved by ministers and MSPs simply publishing their diaries.

"There shouldn’t be any barriers, financial or bureaucratic, to the work of third sector organisations in representing the most vulnerable people in Scotland."

In a statement, the Scottish parliament said that the SPPA Committee would assess whether there was a problem with lobbying in Scotland, "either actual or perceived".

The committee, which has called for evidence from interested parties, will examine how the transparency of lobbying could be improved and consider whether a statutory register of lobbyists should be introduced.

The move comes after the Scottish government indicated in June this year that it would legislate on proposals for a register that would record the relevant activities of individuals and organisations that lobby members of the Scottish parliament, ministers and officials.

In July, the UK government published the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, which would introduce a statutory register for lobbying consultancies.

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