We have in the past covered the lobbying world’s attempts at self-regulation. The most ardent opponent of a statutory register was Francis Ingham of the widely discredited PRCA trade body, he was instrumental in getting rival lobbying and spin trade bodies CIPR and APPC to join up under the UK Public Affairs Council banner to voluntarily produce a joint register of lobbyists. Guido suggested it might be simpler to just require lobbyists to wear leper’s bells.
Ingham has now performed a volte-face and come down on the side of a statutory register. His email to Elizabeth France, the first and probably last Chairman of the UK Public Affairs Council landed in Guido’s inbox this morning:
From: Francis Ingham
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 10:44:04
As it happens Liz, I was about to email you the text below. Happy to talk if you’d like:
It is with regret that I write to inform you that we are resigning with immediate effect from UKPAC.
I understand that this will be unwelcome news, and I apologize for that fact.
My Board has concluded that a statutory register is the correct public policy choice for the Government to make. It has also concluded that on the basis of UKPAC’s performance over the past year, UKPAC simply is not a credible body to hold that register.
We have come to this conclusion with regret and after considerable debate. The continued inability of UKPAC to deliver a timely, comprehensive and accurate register is an embarrassment to the whole industry. Having founded UKPAC alongside the CIPR and APPC, and having spent a considerable amount of time and money supporting it, we regret the fact that it has failed, but we are clear that this failure is manifest and irreversible.
We have today written to the Cabinet Office, making them aware of this decision, and urging them swiftly to introduce a statutory register, held by an independent body, to run in parallel with the Codes of Conduct that exist already within the industry. We will also this morning be notifying the press, and sending them a copy of this formal note of resignation.
I should like to thank you for the effort you have put into UKPAC over the past year, and personally wish you well in the future.
Self-regulation looks dead. They brought it on themselves…