Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 – Designated Public Officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
For the names and roles of the Designated Public Officials for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform please click on the link Designated Public Officials.
Code of Conduct
Section 16 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (the Act) provides for a Code of Conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities “with a view to promoting high professional standards and good practice”. The Standards in Public Office Commission chose to defer development of a Code of Conduct until the Act had been fully commenced and implemented. While most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 September 2015, the Act’s enforcement provisions did not commence until 1 January 2017.
In November 2018, the Standards in Public Office Commission launched a Code of Conduct under the Act. The Code, which comes into effect on 1 January 2019, sets standards of conduct for persons carrying on lobbying activities. The Code will be reviewed every three years, in keeping with scheduled statutory reviews of the Act.
The Code was developed using a public consultation process, having regard to other models and to International best practice. The consultation process yielded a total of forty responses. Submissions were received from Government Departments and public bodies, from other regulatory bodies, from representative bodies and advocacy bodies, and from other organisations and individuals, including registrants.
The Code sets out eight principles by which persons carrying on lobbying activities may conduct their lobbying activities transparently and ethically. Anyone lobbying, including employers, third parties, representative or advocacy bodies and individuals alike, must have regard to the Code when communicating with public officials.
The Code’s eight principles are:
- Demonstrating respect for public bodies;
- Acting with honesty and integrity;
- Ensuring accuracy of information;
- Disclosure of identity and purpose of lobbying activities;
- Preserving confidentiality;
- Avoiding improper influence;
- Observing the provisions of the Regulation of Lobbying Act; and
- Having regard to the Code of Conduct.
The full code is available at this link: https://www.lobbying.ie/media/6119/code-of-conduct-english-final-version-for-web.pdf
For more information, visit the website www.lobbying.ie
First Review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., published the Report on the First Review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 on 2 May 2017. In response to the Public consultation process a total of 31 submissions were received from different sectors of society. The submissions received were broadly in favour and supportive of the legislation.
The list of submissions received from interested parties as part of the Department’s first review of the operation of the Act is below. Submissions were also received from individuals, but for Data Protection purposes, they have not been made available on the website.
The report sets out the purpose of the Act, the approach taken in the review, the international perspective, the findings in terms of an overview of the submissions received, giving the issues raised and responses, and it recommends a number of administrative actions.
The next review, due to take place at the end of 2019, will provide further opportunity for evaluation to take place.
List of submissions received (excluding those received from individuals)
Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland
Association of Irish Local Government
Banking and Payments Federation Ireland
Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach
Cork County Council
County and City Management Association
Department of Education and Skills
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Justice and Equality
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Dublin Institute of Technology
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
IFA (Irish Farmers Association)
IMO (Irish Medical Association)
IPI (Irish Planning Institute)
PRCA (Public Relations Consultants Association of Ireland)
PRII (Public Relations Institute of Ireland)
Standards in Public Office Commission
TASC (Think Tank for Action on Social Change)
Public Consultation Process for First Review of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015
Submissions were invited from interested parties as part of the Department’s first review of the operation of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. A paper setting out the background to and details about this review can be found here.
Contributors were asked to note that submissions received and reports of any meetings undertaken by the Department with any external parties in response to this request would be published on the Department’s website and would be subject to Freedom of Information.
Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 – Enforcement provisions
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., signed the Commencement Order for the enforcement provisions for the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 on Monday, July 11 2016 . The enforcement provisions took effect from 1st January 2017.
For information on the Enforcement Provisions, please click here.
Commencement of Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015
Minister Brendan Howlin announced that Ireland’s first Register of Lobbying becomes a legal requirement from 1 September 2015. From 1st September, lobbying activity could be registered on the lobbying.ie website. The register provides a simple, web based register of lobbying activity providing transparency on ‘who is contacting whom about what’.
Lobbying Register Launched The new on-line register of lobbying (www.lobbying.ie) was unveiled by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D. and the Standards in Public Office Commission on 30 April 2015. The Head of Regulation of Lobbying, Sherry Perreault, was introduced. To allow lobbyists to become familiar with the registration and return requirements the website was available for a trial period from 1 May 2015 to 31 August 2015. The information entered during the trial period was not made available to the public.
(Left to right) William Beausang, Head of the Government Reform Unit, Sherry Perreault, Head of Regulation of Lobbying and Aine Stapleton Government Reform Unit at the launch of www.lobbying.ie
Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015
On 11th March 2015, the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins.
Key dates for the Regulation of Lobbying Act were:
(i) The launch of the web-based register on 1 May 2015 (it will be available to potential registrants from that date to allow them to familiarise themselves with the system) followed by,
(ii) The commencement of the Act on 1 September 2015, and
(iii) The first return required by 21 January 2016.
The Regulation of lobbying website can be accessed at www.lobbying.ie.
Amendments to the Regulation of Lobbying Bill agreed in the Seanad were returned to the Dáil for agreement and Report Stage of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2014 was held in the Dáil on Wednesday, 4 March 2015.
A copy of the Dáil debates can be accessed at the link below along with a version of the Bill as passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
Report Stage of the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 was held in the Seanad on Wednesday, 19 February 2015.
A copy of the Seanad Report Stage debates can be accessed at the link below.
Committee Stage of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2014 was held in the Seanad on Thursday 5 February 2015.
A copy of the Seanad Committee Stage debates can be accessed at the link below.
Second Stage of the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 was considered by the Seanad on Tuesday 29 February 2015. A copy of the Seanad Second Stage debates can be accessed below.
Report Stage of the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 was held in the Dáil on Wednesday 14 February and Thursday 15 February 2015.
The version of this Bill including amendments agreed by the Dáil during Report Stage along with a copy of the Dáil Report Stage debates can be accessed at the links below.
The Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 was considered by the Dáil Select Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform on Tuesday 25 November 2014. The version of this Bill including amendments agreed by the Dáil Select Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform is available below along with a link to the Dáil Committee Stage debates.
Second Stage of the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 was considered by the Dáil on Tuesday 30 September and Wednesday 1 October 2015.
The version of this Bill as initiated in the Dáil is available below along with a copy of the Dáil Second Stage debates.
Submissions received during the passage of the Bill through the Houses
Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association
Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association reply
Irish Farmer’s Association
Law Society of Ireland
Law Society of Ireland reply
Transparency International Ireland Letter
Transparency International Ireland
Publication of the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014
The Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014 was published on Friday 20 June 2014. The core principle guiding the policy approach, as set out in the Bill, is to continue to foster ongoing dialogue and engagement between Government and all sectors of society on public policy matters while ensuring that there is an appropriate degree of transparency in relation to such communications.
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists, and rules concerning the practice of lobbying. The Public Service Reform Programme launched by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on 17 November 2011 contains a commitment to prepare legislation to meet this objective in 2012.
The Government Reform Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform reviewed the international approaches to the regulation of lobbyists to help inform the design of national proposals to meet the commitment contained in the Programme for Government and the Public Service Reform Plan.
On the 30th April, 2013 the Government approved the drafting of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2013. A copy of the General Scheme (Heads) of the Bill are available at the Link below.
The General Scheme
The General Scheme of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill takes into account the contributions received from interested parties as a result of the consultation processes. The purpose of the Bill is to bring greater openness and transparency on public policy formulation and to provide valuable input to the decision making process. The intention of this Bill is to continue to encourage such participation in the decision making process, but to ensure that it is done in a fully open manner.
Consultations following the General Scheme
IBEC lobbying response_August2013
Response to IBEC Letter from ICTU
Response to ICTU
Report of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
The General Scheme of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill was sent to the Joint Committee of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform for pre-legislative scrutiny. Following the examination of the documentation a summary of the issues raised was prepared by the secretariat for review by the Joint Committee. The review included a video conference with Mr. Janos Bertok, Head of Public Sector Integrity Division, OECD; Paris which allowed members discuss with Mr. Bertok the Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying developed by OECD in the context of the issues that were identified in the summary prepared by the secretariat.
The OECD published its latest progress report, Lobbyists, Government and Public Trust: Volume 3 Implementing the OECD Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying, reviewing the progress made in implementing the 2010 Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying and is available at :- http://www.oecd.org/corruption/ethics/lobbying.htm The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. An insight into the Forum on Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying is available by following the link below.
Note: Useful public information on the regulation of lobbying internationally can be found at, for example:- www.oecd.org/gov/fightingcorruptioninthepublicsector/lobbying.htm www.regulatelobbying.com/