After the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent in April 2016, the Lobbying Register website was launched in October 2017. It was also announced that the Act would come into force from 12 March 2018, impacting any individual or business who engages in ‘regulated lobbying’.
From 12 March, individuals or businesses engaged in regulated lobbying will be required to record details of their activities on the new online lobbying register. The Register is also searchable by anyone with an interest in finding out about regulated lobbying activity that has taken place.
Regulated lobbying includes activity which takes place face-to-face with MSPs, members of the Scottish Government, Scottish Government Special Advisers or the Scottish Government Permanent Secretary and which relates to Scottish Government or parliamentary functions.
In the run-up to the Act coming into force, the Scottish Lobbying Registrar’s team has produced a 5-step guide to help businesses establish whether or not what they are doing falls under the terms of the Act.
Ultimately, the Scottish Lobbying Act will increase transparency in how businesses engage with key political stakeholders in Scotland. With the right procedures in place, businesses will be able to continue their lobbying and gain more systematic insight into their political engagement.