The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) has written to the Electoral Commission calling for clarity on ten “fundamental questions” that remain unanswered about the impact of the lobbying act on charity campaigners and public relations practitioners.
The move follows a tempestuous meeting between the Electoral Commission and more than 120 charities and campaigners from the voluntary sector at which the regulator, according to one of the meeting’s organisers, “tried and failed to clarify guidance that was intended to clarify the law”.
Sir Stephen Bubb, the CEO of the Association of Chief Executives of Vountary Organisations (ACEVO), has also written to the Electoral Commission asking for more clarity over the impact of the lobbying act on charity campaigners.
The new rules on non-party campaigning were introduced by the roundly disliked lobbying act and will come into force on 19th September.
Simon Francis, Director at Claremont and Vice-Chair of the PRCA’s Not for Profit and Charity Group, said: “It’s of huge concern to in-house teams, agencies and freelancers alike that with just weeks to go before non-party campaigner regulations coming into force, there are still fundamental questions that remain unanswered about the impact of the Lobbying Act.
“The concerns the PRCA’s members have raised range from fundamental questions about what is covered, to the extent to which spending limits apply to staff or volunteer activity, and into the detail of how any spending should be reported.
“While the general advice to PRs is to keep calm and keep campaigning, the industry needs to be aware that the Lobbying Act does not just have an impact on lobbyists.