Lobbying – One Month To Go

One month to go until the Lobbying Register goes live! Make sure you have 12th March in your diaries, as from that date, you must record any ‘regulated lobbying’ activities in the online register within 30 days of such lobbying or you will be deemed to have committed a criminal offence. A fine of up to £1,000 may be issued if you are required to register and record your regulated lobbying activities but fail to do so.

In terms of whether you are required to register, this depends on whether you carry out regulated lobbying. If you meet all five of the following requirements, you must register and record your activities: (1) you have an oral, face-to-face conversation with an MSP, Scottish Government Minister, special advisor or the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary; (2) you discuss the functions of the Scottish Government or Parliament (which includes topics such as the adoption or modification of new or existing legislation or policies); (3) you use the conversation as a means of influencing decisions of the Scottish Government or Parliament on behalf of your organisation; (4) you are paid by the organisation you represent; and (5) your lobbying activities are not caught by any of the exemptions listed in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016.

The exemptions are communications by:

  • An individual raising an issue on their own behalf;
  • Individuals who are unpaid;
  • A local or public authority (within meaning of the Scottish/UK freedom of information laws);
  • Members of the Scottish Parliament, House of Lords, House of Commons, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assembly, The Scottish, Welsh, Northern Ireland or Welsh Governments;
  • Other States, EU institutions or international organisations;
  • Your regional or constituency MSP;
  • Small organisations (with fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees) lobbying on their own behalf;
  • When made in response to a request for factual information (e.g. an email from an MSP);
  • For the purposes of journalism;
  • Made in a cross-party group, parliamentary proceedings or required by law;
  • Discussing terms and conditions of employment;
  • Made by a registered political party; or
  • The judiciary.

If you have any questions in relation to whether you or your business must register, please get in touch with Jennifer Simpson on 01955 604188 or alternatively email info [AT] bbmsolicitors [DOT] co [DOT] uk.