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.
Yet, lobbying 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. Moreover, informed voices have argued that recent economic crises were caused, partly, by the influence of specific interests on government decision-making.
To help address these concerns, OECD countries adopted a Recommendation with Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying as guidance to decision-makers on how to promote good governance in lobbying. Public officials and lobbyists share responsibility to apply the principles of good governance, in particular transparency and integrity, in order to maintain confidence in public decisions.
Based on the key provisions of the Recommendation, this guidance addresses questions to policy makers looking to promote good governance in lobbying.
1. Do all stakeholders have fair and equitable access to the development and implementation of public policies?
2. Do rules and guidelines on lobbying respect the socio-political and administrative context?
3. Are the rules and guidelines on lobbying consistent with the wider policy and regulatory frameworks?
4. Are the terms “lobbying” and “lobbyist” clearly defined in the rules and guidelines on lobbying?
5. Is sufficient information on lobbying activities publicly available?
6. Can lobbying activities be scrutinised by stakeholders?
7. Are there clear rules and guidelines of conduct for public officials on how to engage with lobbyists?
8. Do lobbyists comply with standards of professionalism and transparency?
9. Is there a coherent spectrum of strategies and practices to ensure compliance with rules on lobbying?
10. Is the functioning of rules and guidelines on lobbying periodically reviewed to ensure compliance?
Download the Full text of the guidance (pdf, 580KB)