> allowing the recording of official meetings; and
> keeping tabs on local planning lobbyists:
Futures Forum: Concerns about transparency and lobbying continue in East Devon: pt 2
There have been issues raised about how this District Council has 'conducted' itself:
> transparency of spending and personal interests;
> responses to Freedom of Information requests; and
> the ongoing saga of the TAFF on the Business Forum:
Futures Forum: Concerns about transparency and lobbying continue in East Devon: pt 1
See also: The Business TAFF drags on | Sidmouth Independent News
There is now the immediate question of how central government's attempts to allow for more transparency and to regulate lobbying could have the reverse effect:
Futures Forum: Concerns for campaigning
There is deep disquiet here in East Devon:
Tomorrow, the Lobbying Bill will come before Parliament:
02 September 2013
Charity bosses meet ministers to discuss lobbying Bill fears
Ministers will meet today with charity chiefs to allay concerns about perceived constraints on their ability to lobby government contained in the Lobbying Bill.
A deputation from National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) are set to hold talks in Whitehall with leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley, deputy leader Tom Brake and Chloe Smith – who is minister for political and constitutional reform at the Cabinet Office.
Third sector bodies – including the Royal British Legion, Oxfam, and the Salvation Army - have expressed fears the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill could make them liable for criminal charges when speaking out on public matters.
Last week the Electoral Commission, which would be responsible for monitoring the rules told MPs in a briefing that even if it advised charities on what they could do, they could not offer guidance with certainty as their views would be open to challenge.
Speaking ahead of today’s talks, Karl Wilding, director of public policy at NCVO, said the Bill would put charities and community groups ‘into a position where no one has any idea what the rules are, but may nevertheless face criminal prosecution for getting them wrong’.
‘I would like the government to give serious consideration to putting its proposals on hold,’ said Mr Wilding.
‘This would give them the chance to consult properly on a solution that addresses concerns about undue influence in politics without the risk of sweeping every charity and community group in the country into a deeply burdensome bureaucratic regime,' Mr Wilding added.
Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith said: ‘My fellow ministers and I are very happy to listen to the concerns and ideas of organisations affected by this legislation, but I hope to be able to put the NCVO's minds to rest that we do not intend to capture a huge swathe of their membership who are not already registered as third party campaigners.
‘At the 2010 General Election, very few charities were registered as third parties. Provided they continue to campaign as most of them always have - that is, they are not promoting the electoral success or otherwise enhancing the standing of parties/candidates - charities will not be affected by this legislation,’ Ms Smith added.
Charity bosses meet ministers to discuss lobbying Bill fears > LocalGov.co.uk
Lobbying bill threatens free speech for charities, says top lawyer
Lobbying bill threatens free speech for charities, says top lawyer | Politics | The Guardian
Owen Jones: Under the disguise of fixing lobbying, this Bill will crush democratic protest - Comment - Voices - The Independent
Beware consequences of 'rushed' lobbying legislation, MPs warned - UK Politics - UK - The Independent