The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee are undertaking a review of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016, looking at how the Act has worked in practice since being introduced – and any areas that need to be amended. The Lobbying Act sets out the circumstances under which lobbying of MSPs and the Scottish Government should be registered on the Lobbying Register.

FoES has an interest in the Act for two reasons. First, as an organisation who actively lobby MSPs and the Scottish Government across our campaigns, we are a registrant of the Lobbying Register. Second, as an organisation with an interest in transparency in democracy we want a strong Lobbying Register, to help the public identify interactions between vested interests and politicians.

This is FoES’ response to the Committee’s call for written evidence, setting out why we support the Act, and the areas we believe the Act could be strengthened. In particular, the response sets out our concerns that the Act:

  • Only captures face-to-face communication
  • Has an unnecessarily broad exemption for “local interest”
  • Works to a very narrow definition of lobbying