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New code of conduct for lobbyists comes into effect today

The goal is for lobbying to be carried out in an ethical and transparent manner.

A CODE OF conduct for lobbyists comes into effect from today.

The code, compiled by the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo), falls under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015.

It was developed following a public consultation process, and takes into account other models and international best practice.

The code sets out eight principles by which people 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 principles are as follows:

  • 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
  • Having regard to the Code of Conduct

The public consultation process, which was launched in June 2018 and completed over the summer, yielded a total of 40 responses.

Submissions were received from government departments, public bodies, other regulatory bodies, representative bodies and advocacy bodies, as well as from other organisations and individuals, including registrants.

Ethical and transparent 

Sipo chose to defer development of the code until the Act had been fully commenced and implemented. While most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 September 2015, its enforcement provisions did not commence until 1 January 2017.

Speaking at the launch of the code in November, Sipo’s Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation, Sherry Perreault, said the lobbying register shows what lobbying activities have taken place and is “an important tool to ensure transparency surrounding decision-making”.

“The code serves a different, but complementary purpose.

The code seeks to provide guidance to those lobbying on how to do so in an ethical and transparent way.

“It seeks to ensure that lobbying is conducted with honesty, integrity, and respect for the institutions and people being lobbied,” Perreault stated. 

The code will be reviewed every three years, in keeping with scheduled statutory reviews of the Act.

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