HOLYROOD HAS A REPUTATION FOR ACCESSIBILITY – THE NEW REGISTER MUST NOT COMPROMISE THAT
By Peter Duncan, Chair of APPC Scotland
As the Scottish lobbying industry, and those lobbying in Scotland from further afield, settle in to the new post-regulatory world, some clear themes are emerging from the early weeks since implementation of the new register on 12th March.
However much dry-run practising has been done, there will be emerging opportunities to streamline the registration process. Most will have found the process of registration slightly more clunky than expected and will be looking for gradual improvements.
Similarly, Holyrood observers will be looking for evidence that the introduction of the new procedures has had an impact on behaviour - will MSPs be less likely to meet outside bodies, particularly to discuss controversial topics? Or will organisations be less keen to undertake recordable meetings and events? Holyrood has rightly developed a reputation for being accessible and open, and we’ll be watching for any evidence that these new regulations have compromised that in any way.
What is clear from the first few weeks is that MSP awareness of the regulations is growing, but the level of understanding remains low. Generally, these policymakers know that something has happened that changes things, but they still have a low level of knowledge on the detail. That’s something the Registrar will want to work on. On your behalf, APPC will keep a close eye on developments, and is already starting to look ahead to the promised formal review of the regulations in 2020.