A briefing on recently passed legislation which seeks to regulate lobbying in Scotland, with significant consequences for how businesses and other organisations engage with the Scottish Government and Members of the Scottish Parliament.
We have previously published an update on the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill (the “Bill”), it can be accessed here. The Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 10 March 2016 and will shortly become law.
In our last update we outlined the key provisions in the Bill at the halfway stage of the legislative process:
- The Bill only regulated face-to-face communications made in person, not email, telephone, and other forms on non-verbal communication.
- Such communications only constituted lobbying if they were made to an MSP, a Member of the Scottish Government or a junior Scottish Minister. Civil servants and special advisers were not to be covered by the Bill.
- The Bill included a number of carve-outs. Of particular note were the carve outs for individuals acting on their own behalf and individuals not acting in return for payment.
- Parties that undertook regulated communications would be required to register details about themselves and the topics that they lobbied on, on a regular basis.
- Failure to register as required by the Bill would be a criminal offence, potentially both for the organisation who should have registered and its directors, partners or managers.
The basic structure of the regulatory regime outlined above remains the same; however, several important details have been changed by amendments agreed in the later stages of the Bill’s passage through Parliament.
Click here to read the full article.