Back in March 2016, I wrote a blog on the new Lobbying (Scotland) Act, outlining how it will affect the third sector. Since then, various members have been in touch asking for an update, so I thought I’d share with you here what’s going on now.

Firstly, check to see whether your organisation will be affected by the Act. The rules regarding that have not changed, so check my original blog.

If you’re still reading, I’m assuming that you’ve checked the criteria and found that your organisation will need to take some action once the Act comes into operation.

So, when will that happen and what will it look like?

Well, in terms of timescale, it is expected that the register will be up and running sometime between September 2017 and March 2018.

And, at the moment, there is no more detail as to what actions you will have to take at that point beyond those detailed in my original blog.

But, a Lobbying registrar has been appointed by the Scottish Parliament to oversee the new lobbying register. His name’s Billy McLaren, and he’s currently working on the guidance, trying to bottom out all the niggling details that we and others have raised.

We’ve been in contact with Billy already, and we’ll be meeting him again in February (alongside some of our members), to make sure that he is aware of all the sector’s concerns – and that we get some good, clear, workable guidance once the register is up and running.

In the meantime, Billy’s promised some initial ‘Need to know’ details by the end of this Spring, so keep an eye out for those. And feel free to contact Billy yourselves if there’s anything in particular you wish to discuss with him on the operation of the register once it comes into force. Or, if you prefer, contact me and I will help you out.