Private interests seeking to influence government decisions, legislation or the award of contracts is part of the policy-making process in modern democracies. Lobbying can improve government decisions by providing valuable insights and data, but it can also lead to unfair advantages for vocal vested interests if the process is opaque and standards are lax. The interests of the community are at risk when negotiations are carried out behind closed doors. A sound framework for lobbying is particularly desirable in the context of the financial and economic crisis, where critical policy decisions are taken in short time spans, massive amounts of public monies are spent and rules and regulations for entire industries are rewritten. The emerging OECD principles for transparency and integrity in lobbying would be one of the policy instruments for building stronger, cleaner and fairer economies.
Interest groups that make efforts to influence government decisions are commonplace in modern democracies. Lobbyists can bring in invaluable information and data for more informed decision making. Nowadays, lobbying is a worldwide phenomenon, and globalisation has established similar lobbying techniques across continents.
Building a Framework for Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Lobbying
This chapter presents key building blocks that provide decision makers with guidance to meet public expectations for transparency, accountability, integrity and efficacy when considering, developing, debating and implementing legislation or government regulations for enhancing transparency and accountability in lobbying. The building blocks address a series of interrelated issues that might logically guide the development of a comprehensive legislative or regulatory framework for enhancing transparency and accountability in lobbying, including: ? Developing standards and rules that adequately address public concerns, conform to the socio-political and administrative context, and are also consistent with the wider regulatory framework. ? Ensuring that the framework’s scope properly reflects public concerns and suitably defines the actors and activities covered in order to establish enforceable standards and rules. ? Establishing standards and procedures for disclosing information on key aspects of lobbying such as its intent, beneficiaries and targets. ? Setting enforceable standards of conduct for fostering a culture of integrity in lobbying. ? Enhancing the efficacy of legislation or regulation by putting in place a coherent spectrum of strategies and practices for supporting implementation and securing compliance.
Comparative Review of Legislation for Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Lobbying
Canada's Federal Lobbying Legislation
This chapter outlines the purpose and key elements of the legislation on lobbying at the federal level in Canada. It describes the stages in the evolution of provisions for enhancing transparency of lobbying through requiring registration and reporting. The chapter also provides information on organisational and procedural frameworks, as well as the measures taken to put the Lobbyists Registration Act and the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct into effect and enforce compliance. Finally, the chapter summarises major features of the new strengthened legislation and the powers of the Commissioner of Lobbying in charge of the implementation of the new Lobbying Act, which came into force on 2 July 2008.
This chapter outlines the regulation and monitoring of lobbying activities at the sub-national level. It reviews the solutions in place in Quebec for designing and implementing the Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act. Sections address the following key questions: ? Why regulate lobbying? ? What activities should be considered lobbying and what should be covered by the regulation? ? What obligations are to be imposed, and on whom, in the context of a lobbying relationship? ? What type of control mechanisms are necessary to ensure compliance?
Decision makers in Poland faced a major challenge when defining the scope of legislation on lobbying that would adequately take into account public demands. This chapter outlines the Polish sociopolitical context under which the government initiated and developed a proposal for legislation on lobbying. The chapter describes the process in which an original "sanctionoriented" approach to the proposed legislation shifted to a good governance approach that aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the legislative process. Complementary measures supporting access to public information and consultation in the legislation and law-drafting process are also highlighted. Moreover, the chapter highlights the government’s efforts to implement the new Act on Legislative and Regulatory Lobbying which came into force on 7 March 2006 and provides statistical and qualitative data on the experiences of its application in daily practice.
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