Lobbying (Scotland) Act - What it means for your organisation.

Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 comes into law on 12 March 2018. You may need to register your organisation to comply with legislation. 

Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body


Get familiar with what the Lobbying Act means for your cultural organisation.


Lobbying allows organisations and individuals to inform and influence decision makers. It's an important part of how policy is made. At Culture Counts' our role is to highlight the impact of the cultural sector to policy makers. In doing this we communicate with MSPs and Scottish Government ministers. We know lots of other cultural organisations do this too. This blog post will familiarise cultural and creative industries organisations with the new Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 which changes how you record conversations with Parliament and Government.

The Act brings into effect a new Lobbying Register. This new register requires organisations to record any 'Regulated Lobbying' they do. Keeping up to date with this will allow the sector to continue to communicate the impact of the work we do to politicians in Scotland.


When does a conversation become 'Regulated Lobbying'?


The Act uses the term 'Regulated Lobbying' to describe conversations you must record in the Lobbying Register.

So what counts as regulated lobbying? Regulated lobbying involves lobbying when it takes place face-to-face with:

  • Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs)
  • Members of the Scottish Government (including the Scottish Law Officers)
  • Junior Scottish Ministers
  • Scottish Government Special Advisers

The Lobbying Register Team at The Scottish Parliament have published this guide which includes 5 key steps below.


When is a conversation not 'Regulated Lobbying'?


Remember the register is only for 'face-to-face' lobbying (that includes video calls / Skype). It's not for letters or emails. Another point to consider is; are you paid to represent the views of your organisation? If not, you might not need to add the conversation to the register. There are 13 exemptions which you can in the Parliamentary Guidance online here. However remember that Representative Bodies are not exempt.


Where is the register?


The Lobbying Register site is www.lobbying.scot. All submissions to the register are public. You don't have to record anything until 12 March 2018. You also have 6 months to record any Regulated Lobbying you do after that date. You'll need to register an account in the first instance, again it's not necessary until after the 12 March 2018. But, the site is already set up so you can familiarize yourself with how it works.


More information.


Parliamentary Guidance on Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016
Lobbying Register
Lobbying Register Information Leaflet

Dougie Wands at the Scottish Parliament can help you if you have compliance questions; you can contact Dougie and the Lobbying Register Team on 0131 348 5408 or lobbying@parliament.scot


Legal Disclaimer: Our blog is deigned to introduce you to the bill and to remind you to consider if you need to register. It is not advice in terms of how your organisation should or should not comply with the new legislation. We strongly encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the official guidance; available here and to take legal advice as required.

NewsAndy Robertson