23 September 2012

The UK Public Affairs Council, the vehicle set up by the lobbying industry to try and avoid a statutory register of lobbyists, appears to have scored yet another own goal.

On Friday, it announced that registration to its voluntary register of lobbyists – originally restricted to members of the lobbying trade bodies that set it up – is now open to all. This is in response to widespread criticism that the UKPAC register has so far only included a fraction of the UK's lobbyists.

In announcing the move, UKPAC welcomed two new, non-member lobbyists to the register: Rt. Hon. Sir Geoffrey Pattie and Caroline Flynn-MacLeod of Terrington Management LLP.

Terrington Management is 'a government relations consultancy based in Westminster', offering among other things 'Political Intelligence'. Its website claims: "The experience of the Partners in Government (both national and international), in Parliament, in NATO, in business and in the military offers an unrivalled added value opportunity to clients."

And yet, no mention of these clients on the UKPAC register. Both Pattie and Flynn-MacLeod are registered as individuals employed by Terrington Management. Neither lists their clients.

That they work for Terrington Management is clear from its website. What's not transparent is to whom they are offering their 'experience of knowing where to go and who to see' in the UK government.

 

As third party lobbyists, UKPAC needs to demand as a minimum that they register their clients. As things stand, their registering is without purpose.

The aim of a register of lobbyists, voluntary or statutory, is to allow greater public scrutiny of who is influencing whom in government and about what. This latest push does nothing to further this. It feels like UKPAC has lost sight of its purpose.