Join the PubAffairs Network

Established in January 2002, PubAffairs is the premier network and leading resource for the public affairs, government relations, policy and communications industry.

The PubAffairs network numbers over 4,000 members and is free to join. PubAffairs operates a general e-Newsletter, as well as a number of other specific group e-Newsletters which are also available to join by completing our registration form.

The PubAffairs e-Newsletters are used to keep members informed about upcoming PubAffairs events and networking opportunities, job vacancies, public affairs news, training courses, stakeholder events, publications, discount offers and other pieces of useful information related to the public affairs and communications industry.

Join the Network

Lobbying Register: Where Are We Now?

The Bill to extend the next Scottish Parliament term to five years (2016-21) commenced its legislative journey at Holyrood last week. On the same afternoon, MSPs agreed to the general principles of the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill which will now move to Stage 2. With the Standards Committee raising a sense of doubt regarding workability, the Minister is under pressure to extend registrable activity to email, phone and digital communications. If this is accepted by Ministers and where there is repetition of similar lobbying activity, there may be an allowance made that reduces the burden of declarations required. The inclusion of senior civil servants and advisers within the list of lobbyees is another proposed change that has some support across the chamber.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and the FSB Scotland have raised significant concerns about the day-in-day-out impact of a register on small charities and SMEs, particularly around ad hoc conversations and casual contact with local MSPs. With significant memberships both, it is more than likely that these issues may gain traction with MSPs and inspire further changes. Irked by the Scottish Government’s refashioning of his original Member’s Bill, it was little wonder that Neil Findlay spotted the opportunity to propose a reconsideration of financial thresholds to allow for one-off contact and infrequent lobbying to fall below the scope of the register.

It’s Gonna Be Me: A New Face for Labour

Starting a new career in a new town this week is Lesley Brennan, a Dundee councillor now sitting as a Labour MSP for NE Scotland. Under Scotland’s electoral system, regional list seats automatically go to the next candidate on the party list and her elevation follows the decision by Richard Baker to move on to a new role with Age Scotland. With only ten weeks to dissolution, she has a little longer than Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame, but it remains a tough job for an absolute beginner to make a mark in such a short time. Lesley Brennan is also a candidate for a ranking on Labour’s regional list for the May elections, with results due in early February. With the polls showing a clear and fairly static lead for the SNP, her placing on the list will give a fairly immediate indication of her likelihood to stay an MSP beyond May.

Holyrood determined to Rebel Rebel on #TUBill

On Monday, the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution (Further Powers) Committee will publish a report on the implications of the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill on industrial relations in Scotland. With no formal powers to block the Bill under legislative consent motion, Labour MSPs are now attempting to change the Parliament’s standing orders via the Standards Committee. The change being sought would allow any MSP to bring a motion seeking the consent of the Holyrood chamber to treat a Westminster bill as relevant for the purposes of the Sewel convention.

Should this route fail, the Committee’s report will be used as the basis for a parliamentary debate later this month, allowing Holyrood to pass a motion condemning the imposition of the proposed changes on Scotland. With the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Convention due to publish its framework in March 2016, opponents of the Bill view this as a particularly brutal assault on an area of policy that is reserved in name but devolved in consequence.

Also due for publication on Monday, the Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee will publish its conclusions on whether and how the Parliament’s committees should be reformed in the next session.

Watch That Man

Having pledged to be a regular visitor to Scotland, Jeremy Corbyn will address Unite Scotland’s first policy conference in Glasgow on Saturday.