Friday, 19 July 2013

Lobbying


Acevo has always been clear in discussions with Government that we do not believe charities should be covered by rules on Lobbyists. I'm glad this view has been listened to and we are not covered by the Lobbying Bill published yesterday.

Let's be clear; charities exist to promote the views and interests of their beneficiaries. As part of this role we will campaign. We will advocate on behalf of our communities. It’s core to the purpose of charity. I do not accept that can be covered by the term “lobbying".

Clearly we need rules on lobbyists; those firms that are hired for pay to push a view, such as Lynton Crosby's outfit. We need to know how people like him- influential in government but making a profit out of commercial lobbying, operate. They do so often behind closed doors. They often pay people and do deals in an un-transparent way.

In contrast charities are overt. Proud of their campaigns and their advocacy. You know about them and who they are campaigning for. There is transparency about this role. And there is a regulator to give advice and occasionally warnings if campaigns stray into party political territory. We do not need another regulator looking over our legitimate campaigning role.

Acevo is proud of the way we are able to influence Government and public policy. You certainly know about what we do and we certainly don't pop brown paper envelopes into politician’s hands. Our advocacy is transparent.  Indeed it’s very in your face. I don't need to be covered by new legislation: just read my Blog! And indeed I resent the idea that we might be classed as a mere lobbyist, in the same boat as tobacco companies or mining and arms interests.

We need to avoid being drawn into the same camp as lobbyists. We need to avoid yet more red tape. Or worse, being drawn into a regulatory scheme that might at some stage limit our ability to advocate on behalf of our communities. Let's be clear; there are those who would like to limit our ability to campaign. We must not give them tools to enable that to happen.

1 comment:

Andrew Thomas said...

The problem is the vast numbers of quangos and tax evading schemes allowed to masquerade as charities. You can spot them through the charity accounts listing pay over 60k and pensions statements, the scam being tax or ratepayer funded, rather than voluntary donations.