Majority of UK public believe lobbying can help create better policy and law

CIPR lobbying paper

The majority (59%) of the public believe that businesses and organisations such as charities, trade unions and pressure groups should be able to meet with MPs and ministers with the intention of promoting ideas to inform and influence public policy. 52% believe that lobbying can help create better policy and law.

The findings are the results of research by Opinium on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). It also found that two-thirds (67%) of UK adults think the public should know more about lobbyists seeking to influence MPs and ministers.

Lobbying policy paper

The research supports the CIPR’s new policy position paper on lobbying in the UK. The paper outlines CIPR’s long-held position that the lobbying register should be expanded to capture all lobbying activity. It outlines the CIPR’s commitment in continuing to call for more transparency and ethical practice within the industry. It also announces a new partnership with I Have A Voice to support their work engaging young people with politics.

“This research, conducted prior to the story surrounding David Cameron and Greensill, highlights the appetite for more transparency in the important process surrounding lobbying activity. The public are sympathetic with the need to lobby and for organisations to have their voices represented, but this contract has to be based on trust which can only come from greater transparency and fairer processes. The lobbying rules, as they are, are not fit for purpose and we urge the investigation announced by the government to consider our new proposals in improving the system for the good of our democracy.”

Mandy Pearse, CIPR president

“Having an impact through lobbying is something we should be proud of. Most of us who came into this profession did so because we want to make a positive contribution. That is why I set up I Have A Voice – to demonstrate to young people the power they have when they engage in the political process, to educate them on how this process works, and to empower them to have a voice. I’m delighted that this partnership with the CIPR will support our mission to achieve that, particularly at this crucial time.”

Rebecca Deegan, founder and director, I Have A Voice

Just 9% of people surveyed disagreed with the idea that Businesses and organisations such as charities, trade unions and pressure groups should be able to meet with MPs and Ministers with the intention of promoting ideas to inform and influence public policy. Just 11% disagreed with the statement that engaging with businesses and organisations such as charities, trade unions and pressure groups can help create better public policy and law by influencing MPs and Ministers through lobbying.

Lobbying discussion

The CIPR will be discussing the issue of lobbying at this forthcoming event ‘What could changes to lobbying legislation mean to those who are lobbied?’. The speakers are Dame Angela Eagle MP and Dr Hannah White, Deputy Director of the Institute for Government. It is on 20 May at 12.30 – 2pm. Registration is free.

Lobbying research by CIPR and Opinium

The survey was commissioned by the CIPR and conducted by Opinium between March 9-12, 2021. Over 2000 members of the public were surveyed.

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