· Enforceable ethics rules for lobbyists (for instance prohibiting employment of officials or their relatives for lobbying purposes).
· Enhanced ethical rules on members interests, on the role of All Party groups, and stricter regulation of outside interests.
· Recording of formal and informal meetings between elected members, officials and lobbyists and logging of correspondence (to be made available in a fully searchable online database).
· An extended 'cooling off' period – one year - before ministers, elected members and senior officials across the public sector can start working for lobby groups or lobbying consultancies.
Lobbying is an essential part of the way corporations exert power over society by influencing government. Without more information it is almost impossible to gauge the extent of that power, and it is the very secretive nature of the business that gives such cause for concern. We have nothing but a scandal-ridden industry's insistence that it has cleaned up its act. Enforced transparency for the lobbying industry, as suggested by Spinwatch's rules, is essential if Britain is to fulfil its claim to be a democracy. Edelman's Timely Scandal Just as the lobbyists were gearing up to present the tired old line that, in spite of previous mistakes, the industry has now cleaned up its act, another lobbying scandal has broken out. This time public relations multinational, Edelman, is in the spotlight over its lobbying of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2006, on behalf of its client company Pelcombe. Pelcombe, an"employment solutions provider", subsequently picked up contracts from the DWP for retraining the unemployed. Edelman however had failed to disclose Pelcombe as a client: a breach of the lobbying code of conduct. According to the Sunday Times, Pelcombe's account was being handled by the Edelman director Heather Rogers, otherwise known as Heather Hutton, wife of John Hutton MP, then secretary of state at the DWP. The Sunday Times was alone amongst the national press in considering the story newsworthy.