Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development

Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 3

Implementing the OECD Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying

Published on November 27, 2014

book

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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword and Acknowledgments
Executive Summary
Survey methodologies
Lobbying practices, the public decision-making process and citizens’ trust in government5 chapters available
Lobbying risks in the decision-making process
Balancing scope and feasibility of lobbying rules and guidelines
Transparency in lobbying activities
Integrity in public decision making
Compliance and enforcement: Making transparency and integrity in lobbying a reality
Country case studies11 chapters available
Austria: The transparency act 2013 for lobbying and interest representation
Brazil: Lobby regulation, transparency and democratic governance
Canada: How the federal lobbying act has matured
Chile: Regulation of lobbying
The EU Transparency Register: Increasing the transparency of interest representation in Brussels
Hungary: In quest of an appropriate legal framework for lobby regulation
Ireland: Proposals for registering lobbying activities
Italy: The regulation of lobbying and the evolution of a cultural taboo
Mexico: The regulation of lobbying in the legislative branch
Slovenia: The regulation of lobbying in place and the challenge of implementation
United Kingdom: Developing lobbying regulation in an open government context
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Timeline of lobbying regulations

Lobbying infographic

main findings

  • Two in five OECD countries have acted to tighten lobbying standards but the degree of transparency in lobbying still varies considerably from country to country.
  • New regulations are too often adopted in response to a lobbying scandal rather than in a forward-thinking way that could prevent problems.
  • Many “under-cover” lobbyists, such as foreign government officials and diplomats, are not covered by lobbying regulations.
  • The practice of “revolving doors”, where staff can slip between related public and private sectors, threatens the integrity of public decision-making by raising the risks of conflicts of interest and the misuse of insider information and contacts. Only a third of OECD countries have restrictions on hiring lobbyists for regulatory or advisory posts in government.
  • Poor co-ordination of transnational lobbying practices results in different requirements for the same actors in different jurisdictions.

 

Policy guidance

  • Focus efforts on the implementation of the Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying to strengthen confidence in the public decision-making process and restore trust in government.
  • Identify relevant data, benchmarks, and indicators relative to transparency in lobbying, the public decision-making process and, ultimately, the broader integrity framework in order to measure costs, identify benefits, and monitor performance.
  • 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. Countries could seize the opportunity to reflect on new integrity challenges and constraints and identify innovative and cost-effective measures.
  • Review policies for managing conflict of interest to ensure that revolving door practices and the unbalanced representation and influence of advisory groups are effectively mitigated. Countries would benefit from highlighting and sharing good practices so as to identify the conditions for policies and practices that effectively safeguard the integrity of the public decision-making process and contribute to building trust in government.

Blog posts

 

 related publications

Further information

OECD work on Lobbying