Restrictions on charity lobbying still very much on the cards

The first parliamentary debate around restrictions on lobbying by charities contained in the government’s proposed Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill took place on Tuesday, This was shortly after MPs returned from their break – the Bill had only been published just before the recess began and the rest of the timetable is rushed compared with usual. News reports say there may be some concessions, but these appear to be limited with the relevant minister Andrew Lansley sure that the basis of the legislation is right.

The second reading was passed by 62 votes. The deadline for amendments to the Bill was Thursday 5th, with the next, Committee, stage on 9th to 11th September.

Coverage of the debate on The Guardian, also on CYP Now reflecting concerns of children’s charities. Charity chief executives body ACEVO ran a public poll which highlighted that it was the regulation of lobbyists that should be tighter, not charities, http://www.acevo.org.uk/lobbying-bill–sep-2013-.

NCVO’s information about why this is an issue and sector lobbying efforts http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2013/09/03/lobbying-lets-get-this-right/, also see this NCVO page, and their resources and links. Sandy Adirondack also has a useful briefing http://www.sandy-a.co.uk/activities.htm#electioncontrols.

These links do give some indications of action to take. Although we haven’t any specific update from after the second reading, organisations which haven’t contacted their MP to express concern should take the opportunity to do so sooner rather than later. Check with your national/local sector support body.