NCVO responds to the Lobbying Act consultation

Devising laws that protect legitimate campaigning while guarding against undue influence is a delicate balancing act. NCVO does not believe that the Lobbying Act as it stands strikes the right balance. Further consideration of the types of activities covered, a reduction of the length of the regulated period, and the removal of constituency limits and staff costs are all needed to reduce the administrative burden on voluntary organisations.

Responding to the Labour Party’s consultation on the Lobbying Act, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief of NCVO, said:

'Changes are still needed to reduce the administrative burden of the Lobbying Act. If the inclusion of staff costs is too deemed too burdensome for political parties, it is difficult to understand why they were included for charity campaigners.

'However, the main cause for concern in the Lobbying Act is inherited from the previous PPERA legislation introduced by the previous government: the broad definition of ‘controlled expenditure’ as activity that could reasonably be regarded as intended to promote electoral success.

'It is not clear from this definition whether some legitimate, non-partisan campaigning by charities would be caught. NCVO is concerned that this uncertainty means charities could be deterred from speaking out on behalf of the people they support. It is essential that any amendment or replacement to the Lobbying Act addresses this.'

Notes

The Labour Party held a public consultation on their proposal to repeal and replace the Lobbying Act, closing on 14 November 2014.
Download NCVO’s full response to the consultation (PDF, 120KB). We would encourage all parties to adopt these proposals.

Site by Clickingmad