Futures Forum: East Devon Business Group
And this evening, the District Council's Overview & Scrutiny Committee's TAFF on the EDBF meets to take matters further:
It has remained highly controversial as to what the 'scope' of the OSC's TAFF should be, but all parties agree that one area should indeed be that of 'lobbying'.
How would you define 'lobbying'?
This is the District Council's definition:
In other words, lobbying is essential for informing debate, whether locally or nationally.
Devon MP Sarah Wollaston speaks out:
And at a County level, for example, the Federation of Small Businesses sees one of its primary roles as lobbying for its members:
Devon - Federation of Small Businesses - FSB - UK small business support organisation
And at local level, campaigning organisations often see themselves as 'lobbying', for instance in Talaton, East Devon:
However, following local and national scandals, the issue of 'what is lobbying' needs clarifying.
Again, from the District Council:
Sidmouth Independent News has sought to put the District Council's definition of 'lobbying' into context:
And here is independent District Councillor Claire Wright's perspective on 'lobbying' from another Committee's proceedings:
However, this concern is not limited to independent news blogs and independent Councillors.
The Daily Telegraph's investigative journalists also considered it an issue worth delving into:
Video: 'If I can’t get planning, nobody will' says Devon councillor and planning consultant - Telegraph
Councillors for hire who give firms planning advice - Telegraph
Telegraph exposes councillors lobbying for planning development | Local Government
And other investigative journalists have taken the matter further.
Anna Minton [Futures Forum: Public Space] considers 'the local lobby and the failure of democracy' in her latest report:
www.annaminton.com/Scaring The Living Daylights March 27th 13.pdf;
New report: Scaring the living daylights out of people
SpinWatch report on lobbying, includes East Devon | Save Our Sidmouth
It's a national problem:
Lobbying Transparency - Home
which isn't going to go away:
But national concerns meet local:
And the debate continues...