Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 3

Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 3

Implementing the OECD Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying You do not have access to this content

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27 Nov 2014
9789264214224 (PDF) ;9789264214217(print)

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This report takes stock of progress made in implementing the 2010 Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying – the only international instrument addressing major risks in the public decision-making process related to lobbying. The review process found that although there is an emerging consensus on the need for transparency to shed light on lobbying, new regulations are often scandal-driven instead of forward looking.

In countries that have regulations in place, the degree of transparency in lobbying varies considerably across OECD members. Moving forward, it will be essential for countries to focus efforts on the implementation of the Recommendation, in order to strengthen confidence in the public decision-making process and restore trust in government. It will also be crucial to strengthen the implementation of the wider integrity framework, as it is the prime tool for safeguarding transparency and integrity in the decision-making process in general and lobbying practices in particular.

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Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Table of Contents

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgments

    Citizens’ trust in government provides the foundation for good governance and effective policy-making. This is especially true in the current post-crisis context in which structural reforms involve difficult choices, and where the confidence of citizens and markets is critical for fostering economic and social development. However, public opinion surveys suggest that trust in government is waning in most OECD member countries. Partly at the origin of this is the perception that policy decisions are driven by private interests at the expense of the public good.

  • Executive Summary

    This report reviews how risks and concerns related to lobbying have evolved and identifies lessons learned in designing and implementing measures and cost-effective solutions for safeguarding the integrity of the decision-making process. This contributes to the OECD Strategy on Trust – adopted by Ministers at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in May 2014 – which includes a module on "Securing fairness in policy making" in which curbing policy capture by private interests and ensuring political participation is one of its main elements.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Lobbying practices, the public decision-making process and citizens’ trust in government

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    • Lobbying risks in the decision-making process

      Ensuring stakeholders’ fair and equitable access to the decision-making process balances policy debates and helps create more effective polices. When conducted with transparency and integrity, lobbying yields useful information and helps decision makers produce more effective policies. However, it can also lead to undue influence, unfair competition, and policy capture to the detriment of the public interest and effective public policies.This chapter provides an analysis of current measures in place in OECD countries to promote citizen engagement and open government, and to address concerns over the public decision-making process, political finance and lobbying practices.

    • Balancing scope and feasibility of lobbying rules and guidelines

      Although addressing concerns over lobbying starts with determining the scope of appropriate lobbying rules and guidelines, many countries have struggled to do so. While a comprehensive scope levels the playing field for all interest groups, experience shows that countries have had trouble mustering the necessary support for such an approach and that it may generate an overwhelming administrative burden. Evidence points to the advantages of incremental – step-by-step – approach to regulation, although some countries rely solely on lobbyists to self-regulate.This chapter explores how countries have sought to strike the right balance between the costs and benefits of rules and guidelines and the scope of a well-functioning system that achieves expected objectives and addresses concerns over lobbying.

    • Transparency in lobbying activities

      There is consensus among stakeholders that transparency of lobbying activities is needed. However, many countries struggle to achieve adequate levels of transparency – i.e. disclose the right amount and types of information – or operate efficient disclosure tools and mechanisms.This chapter reviews how OECD countries have approached the questions of what information should be disclosed, by whom, and if and how it should be made public.

    • Integrity in public decision making

      Across countries, trust in the public decision-making process has dwindled, damaged by citizens’ perceptions of corruption and the undue influence of powerful interest groups. Improper dealings between lobbyists and public officials, conflicts of interest, and revolving door practices have attracted particular attention.Although it takes two to lobby, governments have prime responsibility for setting out clear standards of conduct for public officials who may be lobbied. In addition to reviewing moves that specifically target lobbying – to improve its transparency, for example – this chapter analyses the measures that countries have taken that address the broader integrity framework. These measures have proven valuable in addressing concerns of conflicts of interest and undue influence in the decision-making process.

    • Compliance and enforcement: Making transparency and integrity in lobbying a reality

      In recent years, countries have designed and implemented rules and guidelines on lobbying, yet, questions on how to achieve compliance remain. The challenge of cost-effectively enforcing regulations is evident and countries still struggle to incentivise compliance and to impose sanctions for breaches.This chapter analyses the measure that have been implemented in OECD countries to further compliance with lobbying rules and guidelines, the sanctions in place, and mechanisms to review the lobbying rules and guidelines.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country case studies

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    • Austria: The transparency act 2013 for lobbying and interest representation

      This chapter provides an overview of the purpose and key elements of the Austrian Transparency Act 2013 for Lobbying and Interest Representation which came into effect on 1st January 2013. It describes the scope of coverage by the Act and the exemptions and differences in actors’ Lobbying Register reporting requirements.

    • Brazil: Lobby regulation, transparency and democratic governance

      The development of more open regimes in Latin America has increased the transparency of the policy-making process, revealing instances of capture by private interests in public decision making. In order to address the root causes of corruption and enhance transparency in the policymaking process, a call for regulating the role and activities of interests groups has emerged in the region.This chapter provides an overview of recent attempts to regulate lobbying in Brazil. It also explores related democratic governance achievements, such as recent laws on Access to Information and Conflicts of Interest.

    • Canada: How the federal lobbying act has matured

      This chapter provides an update on Canada’s federal lobbying legislation, the Lobbying Act. It briefly describes the purpose and key elements of the legislation on lobbying at the federal level in Canada and how it enhances the transparency of lobbying through mandatory registration of lobbying activities and reporting of communications with certain public office holders.The chapter also provides information on the work of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.

    • Chile: Regulation of lobbying

      This chapter analyses the content of the different bills that have been discussed in the Chilean Congress, the difficulties encountered, and the debate generated on the subject of lobbying. It also analyses the new bill that require public officials to disclose and make publicly available their agendas and meetings.Chile enacted a law regulating lobbying in January 2014. However, although this chapter deals with the content of the proposed bill, it only refers to laws and practices adopted up to December 2013.

    • The EU Transparency Register: Increasing the transparency of interest representation in Brussels

      The Transparency Register was set up by the European Parliament and the European Commission in June 2011. Its purpose is to provide EU citizens with information about organisations engaged in activities that seek to influence the EU decision-making process.This chapter provides an overview of the objectives of the Register as well as its scope, implementation and impact. The chapter also provides an overview of challenges faced in the implementation of the Register and the priority issues discussed in the ongoing review process.

    • Hungary: In quest of an appropriate legal framework for lobby regulation

      This chapter analyses the regulation of lobbying in Hungary. It focuses, in particular, on the lessons learned from Act XLIX of 2006 on Lobbying Activities, which – as a result of its largely insufficient application – was repealed in 2011. It also describes the 2013 integrity management regulatory system introduced in place of the repealed Act.

    • Ireland: Proposals for registering lobbying activities

      This chapter describes Ireland’s path in the creation of rules and guidelines on lobbying activities, including the public consultation process and the main provisions of the draft legislative proposal which may be modified prior to Government and parliamentary approval of the final Bill.

    • Italy: The regulation of lobbying and the evolution of a cultural taboo

      In Italy, there is no comprehensive regulation of lobbying activities that cover the whole country or government. There is however rules in Tuscany, Abruzzo and Molise as well as in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies.This chapter explores the existent regulations and analyses the reasons for not having rules and guidelines that are applicable to the country and government as a whole. The chapter also introduces the most recent initiative to regulate lobbying that was presented by the former President of the Council of Ministers, Enrico Letta, during the Council of Ministers’ meeting on 24 May 2013.

    • Mexico: The regulation of lobbying in the legislative branch

      This chapter describes the rationale for introducing lobbying rules/guidelines in Mexico’s legislative branch. It describes previous attempts to regulate lobbying and why it was finally regulated at that specific point in time. The chapter also summarises the key features of the regulation in place and its impact on the decision-making process and stakeholder engagement in Mexico.

    • Slovenia: The regulation of lobbying in place and the challenge of implementation

      This chapter provides a historic overview to the regulation of lobbying in Slovenia and presents the main provisions relating to lobbying in the 2010 Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act. The definitions of a number of key terms such as lobbying, lobbyists, and lobbied persons are presented, and the two-track approach of sharing the responsibility of registration between lobbyists and lobbied persons is introduced. Finally, some of the key challenges faced by Slovenia in the implementation of the Act are described together with potential explanations for the emergence of these challenges.

    • United Kingdom: Developing lobbying regulation in an open government context

      The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Act received Royal Assent and was enacted on 30 January 2014. Part 1 of the Act provides for a statutory register of lobbyists. The UK Government has stated that its aim is to commence the register in good time before the end of this Parliament in May 2015.This chapter illustrates the socio-political context within which recent UK lobbying legislation has been developed and describes the evolution and design of that regulation. It goes on to describe the key challenges that were encountered during the policy development process and summarises the core provisions for the statutory register of lobbyists.

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