9th February 2010
Tories Attack Lobbying's "far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money"
The Conservative Party has published the first part of their draft manifesto Fixing Our Broken Politics, aimed at restoring the reputation of politics with the launch of a plan on "Ethics and Accountability". David Cameron's "serious agenda for a new politics" plans to "change the UK with a sweeping redistribution of power" and "weaken the old political elites, strengthen the power of the people", rooting out sleaze and dispelling suspicion.
The draft manifesto spells out that "Lobbying is an issue that has tainted our politics for too long, exposing the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money. Contacts and knowledge gained while being paid by the public to serve the public should not be used for private gain. So a Conservative government will ensure that ex-ministers are banned from lobbying government for two years after leaving office. And we will rewrite the Ministerial Code to make clear that any former Minister who breaks the rules on appointments will be forced to give up some or all of their Ministerial pension. We will introduce new rules to stop central government bodies using public money to hire lobbyists to lobby other government bodies. The lobbying industry must regulate itself to ensure its practices are transparent - if it does not then we will legislate to do so".
8th February 2010
Cameron calls Lobbying "the next big scandal waiting to happen"
The Conservative Leader, in a speech at the University of East London about rebuilding trust in politics, has said Lobbying is "the next big scandal waiting to happen" and is "an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money". David Cameron continued "The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way. In this party, we believe in competition, not cronyism. We believe in market economics, not crony capitalism. So we must be the party that sorts all this out. Now, I want to be clear: it’s not just big business that gets involved in lobbying. Charities and other organisations, including trade unions, do it too. What’s more, when it's open and transparent, when people know who is meeting who, for what reason and with what outcome, lobbying is perfectly reasonable. It’s important that businesses, charities and other organisations feel they can make sure their voice is heard. And indeed, lobbying often makes for better, more workable, legislation. But I believe that it is increasingly clear that lobbying in this country is getting out of control. Today it is a £2 billion industry that has a huge presence in Parliament. The Hansard Society has estimated that some MPs are approached over one hundred times a week by lobbyists. Much of the time this happens covertly. We don’t know who is meeting whom. We don’t know whether any favours are being exchanged. We don’t know which outside interests are wielding unhealthy influence. This isn’t a minor issue with minor consequences. Commercial interests - not to mention government contracts - worth hundreds of billions of pounds are potentially at stake. I believe that secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics. It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest. We can’t go on like this. I believe it’s time we shone the light of transparency on lobbying in our country and forced our politics to come clean about who is buying power and influence".
27th January 2010
Public Affairs 5-a-side Football Teams Required
Public affairs agency Politics Direct is looking for teams to play them at 5aside football. They've played a handful of games against the likes of Bell Pottinger, London Chamber of Commerce, and the Lib Dems but are looking for new teams who fancy a game. It doesn't matter if you are in-house, a charity, or another agency. Matches are usually on Fridays after work by the Imperial War Museum, but apparently they are flexible with regards to times and dates. If you're interested then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
14th January 2010
Announcing the launch of an exciting new sandwich delivery company - al desco
al desco has been co-founded by former public affairs practitioner (and PubAffairs member) Hugo Nisbett.
To celebrate the launch, al desco are offering a tempting discount to all PubAffairs members: 10% off all corporate platters and a week of free sandwiches for anyone who lets al desco come in and do a sandwich round.
This offer has been specially agreed with PubAffairs, and is available until the General Election is called. To take up the offer, you must quote ‘PubAffairs’ every time you order.
What we do? We offer corporate platters for meetings, sandwich rounds to offices and can cater for one-off events.
Could we help you? We are very happy to come in with a trial platter, so you can sample our ‘fresh & delicious sandwiches’ - just let us know who we should speak to at your company, if it’s not you.
Available for download below is our platter menu, and we have a wide selection for sandwich rounds. We also sell drinks, crisps, soups, delicious handmade pies and cakes. We will shortly be adding a range of salads for the spring.
We’re really flexible and will work hard to meet your needs.
5th January 2010
Insight Public Affairs Election2010 Briefing Service
The start of the new decade heralds massive political upheaval and enormous political challenges. As the political community reconciles itself to the prospect of vast public spending cuts to reign in the budget deficit, whoever is elected to Downing Street in 2010 will be under no illusions about the magnitude, not just of balancing the books, but of doing so in a way that wins public approval.
In a significant presentational shift this weekend David Cameron ditched ‘austerity’ and returned to the politics of ‘hope’. In a speech on Saturday the leader of the Conservatives used phrases like “Let's make this the year for change - the year when the positive defeats the negative” and said that the new decade brought “a sense of hope". What’s more, he made his podium address in front of a backdrop that read, ‘Year for Change’. The echoes of the Obama campaign are self-evident. It has fired the pistol for the election campaign and given us an insight into how David Cameron intends to fight the election.
With difficult spending decisions around the corner and such an exciting and unpredictable year in politics awaiting us, Insight have pulled together the below summary document looking ahead to 2010, outlining some of the major political and economic challenges and key policy drivers we need to all be mindful of.
30th December 2009
PubAffairs Publishes Largest Ever Survey of Public Affairs Practitioners
ComRes surveyed 398 practitioners working in Public Affairs via online surveys. The fieldwork was conducted between 29th March and 20th May 2009. Demographic information was gathered to offer analysis by organisational type and also job role. In order to aid analysis results were broken down by those who work in Consultancies, Charities and NGOs, Trade Associations and Companies. There is also analysis provided by different job positions within each organisation.
The results include details about salaries, bonus, pensions and holiday benefits, as well as looking at career moves and aspirations within the public affairs sector. Click here to read more and to download the Survey results.
20th November 2009
PLMR – Personal Care at Home Bill Briefing
PLMR (Political Lobbying and Media Relations) Ltd - industry specialists in the health, social care, life sciences and renewables sectors - have produced a succinct briefing note on the announcement in this year’s Queen’s Speech of a Personal Care at Home Bill, which includes stakeholder reaction.
The briefing can be downloaded below and for further information about PLMR, or to be sent a hard copy of the briefing, please contact Natasha Graham on email@example.com or 0207 622 9529
23rd October 2009
Government Response to PASC Lobbying Report Published
The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has published the Government’s Response to its report into Lobbying, with a key element that “effective voluntary self-regulation must be the preferred approach”. The Government’s Response had initially been expected over six months ago. Highlights include:
- "The Government is committed to protecting this right from improper use while at the same time seeking to avoid any unnecessary regulation or restriction. As well as being essential to the health of our democracy, its free and proper exercise is an important feature of good government";
- "The Government believes that in the vast majority of cases, lobbying takes place in a legitimate and beneficial way";
- "The Government agrees that the Committee’s Report raises important issues about the current arrangements for voluntary self-regulation. It is in the industry’s best interests to look again at these arrangements. The Government welcomes the constructive start the industry has already made with the adoption of guiding principles by the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC), the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the formation of a Public Affairs Council (PAC) Working Party, which also includes independent membership";
- "The Government takes seriously the potential risks of state regulation. The right of any individual or organisation to approach government on an issue of concern is essential to our democracy and important for good government. Regulation which might inhibit the legitimate exercise of this right must be avoided...The Government believes that effective voluntary self-regulation must be the preferred approach. The Committee has made a number of recommendations directed at the lobbying industry, calling for statutory regulation only if the industry fails to make credible improvements to voluntary self-regulation. The Government agrees that the industry should be allowed the opportunity to develop a system of voluntary self-regulation which commands the confidence of those in and outside the industry. In doing so, the Government will keep the issue under review to ensure that progress is made in developing an effective system of voluntary self-regulation";
- "The Government is encouraged by the efforts now being made by the industry to develop a single and credible regime of voluntary self-regulation. The industry has continually improved its disciplinary procedures over recent years, including through the greater use of independent figures of standing to consider and rule on possible breaches";
- "The Government urges the industry to embrace the opportunity provided by the Committee’s Report. If a system of voluntary self-regulation can be made to work it would be a more proportionate and effective means of promoting the transparency and standards of conduct that should be expected of lobbyists without the potential risks associated with statutory regulation";
- "The Government agrees that any system of regulation, whether it is voluntary self-regulation or statutory regulation, requires a register of lobbyists to ensure that lobbying activity is transparent. The Government agrees with most of the elements for such a register outlined by the Committee".
1st October 2009
Which? Survival Guides to the Party Conferences: Conservative Edition
For the first time, Which? is bringing together Best Buy advice on laptops and other conference essentials, insider knowledge on the best local restaurants and tips on how to get through four days in hot seminar rooms. Each supplement also features an exclusive interview with the host party leader.
Either download below the Conservative Conference Edition or look out for your FREE copy in Manchester.
21st September 2009
POLinfluence Launches Unique PPC Reference Guide Series
BORED WITH BIOGRAPHICAL BLURB ABOUT CANDIDATES?
WANT A USEFUL INSIGHT INTO THEIR POLITICAL OUTLOOK INSTEAD?
Volume one in a unique six part series of reference guides profiling prospective parliamentary candidates is now available from POLinfluence.
With detailed, full-page interviews, the “ALL CHANGE!” series gives public affairs professionals an edge when targeting and engaging PPCs.
Legalise “assisted dying”? Votes at 16? Fixed-term parliaments? Join the Euro? New nuclear power stations? Minimum alcohol prices? Scrap primary school testing?
All these topical issues and many more are covered to help readers get a clearer idea of the distinctive political personality of key candidates.
Priced affordably, there’s also a £3.95 discount on volume one for PubAffairs network members. Go to www.polinfluence.com (important: use discount code 0336) or call 0208 761 8155.
Also, there’s half-price advertising rates for PubAffairs network members only - for example, a half page ad in one of the upcoming five volumes for only £40. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org