The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

NAO supports call for regulation of lobbying, setting up of transparency register

Monday, 4 May 2020, 17:26 Last update: about 25 days ago

The National Audit Office has backed a call, by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life, to introduce a legal framework to regulate lobbying as well as a Lobbyist's Register and a Transparency Register.

The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life, George Hyzler, had suggested that all ministries should set up a transparency register, following in the footsteps of Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia. It had also proposed a law regulating lobbying.

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The NAO said it supports such a call in view of the significant governance-related concerns identified in its work.

"Several audits undertaken often point towards scenarios where lobbying is likely, pivotal and central to the Government's decision-making process, yet persists as a phenomenon that certainly remains unregistered in any form."

The NAO said it is tasked with ensuring that Government conducts its business and functions in accordance with the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance.

"The regulation of lobbying bears an intrinsic link to this function as it serves to safeguard trust in the integrity of government processes and ensure that contact between lobbyists and Government representatives is undertaken in accordance with the expectations of public conduct.  The NAO understands that lobbying has become an integral part of the policy process through which Government measures are formulated, implemented and tested, and that it is important for a democracy to have free and open access to government, including the legislature and the executive. However, also important is the counterbalance to this greater accessibility, that is, accountability." 

It also said that the Register of Lobbyists and the Transparency Register are two fundamentally important tools that will allow the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life to appropriately monitor and regulate lobbying.

 

 


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