Scottish Lobbying Register goes live

Reblogged from SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe

Scottish Lobbying Register goes live on Monday 12 March

Lobbying has a long and controversial history. For some, lobbying is synonymous with corruption, impropriety and an imbalance of power between big business interests and the individual citizen.  For others, lobbying is a legitimate and positive activity which underscores the right of people to represent their own interests to elected politicians and administrators and to influence the direction of public policy.

In most Western democracies, lobbying is regarded as an important and legitimate part of the policy-making and legislative processes. That said, many states recognise that lobbying is potentially open to abuse and seek to regulate its practice to some extent. States may, for example, legislate to ensure that lobbying activity is carried out in an open and transparent way, though the scale and nature of such regulation varies widely between states.

The ‘cash-for-questions’ scandals of  the 1990s and early 2000s, led the UK Parliament to pass an Act – the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, which, among other things, established a Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists to regulate direct communication between paid lobbyists and UK government ministers and senior civil servants (permanent secretaries and equivalent).

Scottish Lobbying Register

Although Scotland has been untouched by such lobbying scandals, there has been a strong desire among politicians here to place lobbying activity above suspicion of improper influence. The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 was, therefore, introduced to increase public transparency about certain types of lobbying. The Act introduces the concept of ‘regulated lobbying’ and places a statutory requirement on those who engage in regulated lobbying to register their lobbying activities.

If you are, or think you might be, engaged in regulated lobbying, you should know that the registration provisions of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 come into force on Monday 12 March when the new Lobbying Register opens for business.

So, what is regulated lobbying and who needs to register?

You may be engaging in regulated lobbying if all or part of your work or business is to inform or influence decisions by the Scottish Parliament or Scottish Government, either on behalf of your organisation or on behalf of those who you represent, and if this involves speaking face to face (including by video-conference or using BSL) with any of the following:

  • a member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP)
  • a member of the Scottish Government (Cabinet Secretaries and Scottish Law Officers);
  • a junior Scottish Minister;
  • a Scottish Government Special Adviser; or
  • the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary

However, not all such communications will be regulated lobbying, as a number of exemptions might apply. You do not need to register, for example if, in your communications with any of the above:

  • you are raising an issue on your own behalf
  • you are raising an issue with an MSP who represents the constituency or region where you live or where your company or organisation is based or usually operates (unless the MSP is a member of the Scottish Government, or you are communicating on behalf of a third party)
  • you are not getting paid, directly or indirectly, for this activity
  • your company or organisation had fewer than 10 full-time staff at the time (unless you are communicating on behalf of a third party, or in a representative capacity)
  • your communication takes place during formal proceedings of the Scottish Parliament
  • your communication was in response to a request from any of those listed above
  • your communication was for the purposes of journalism
  • your communication involved discussing negotiations on terms and conditions of employment
  • your communication was made by or on behalf of a political party
  • your communication was made in the course of a parliamentary cross-party group meeting
  • you are already exempt because your public role or the public role or functions of your organisation are listed in the Act as being exempt

The Lobbying Registrar has issued more detailed guidance on the Lobbying Act and a Code of Conduct for Persons Lobbying MSPs.

If you want to find out more about lobbying and registration requirements you can refer to this guidance.  You can also email the office of the Lobbying Registrar at:  or phone 0131 348 5408.

Denis Oag

Head of Research and Library

Source: SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe


SPICe Enquiries FAQ – Accessing GP records

SPICe regularly receives enquiries relating to constituents’ concerns over their health records held by their GPs.
We were recently asked what the legislative basis is for a patient’s right to ask for their NHS records to be changed or a note written by the patient to be added to the records where the patient has concerns about their content.
Read the full post at: SPICe Spotlight | Solas air SPICe


League of Nations archives being digitised.

Total Digital Access

In 2017, the Institutional Memory Section of the UN Library Geneva launched a major five-year project (2017-2022) to digitize the entire League of Nations archives, with the aim of modernising access to institutional memory for researchers, education institutions, and the general public.

This project, called Total Digital Access, will ensure digital and physical preservation and state-of-the-art free online access to around 15 million pages, or almost three linear kilometres of archival documents of the League of Nations (1920-1946), the first global international organisation aiming at the establishment of peace and cooperation and the precursor of the United Nations.

The project will result in 160TB of data, over 500.000 units of descriptive metadata, rehousing and conservation of all physical originals according to current standards, and modernised climate control and fire prevention.

Read more

A New (Beta) Interface for the UK Web Archive

At our last SWOP meeting Eilidh MacGlone (National Library of Scotland( gave a short presentation of this new interface.  I am reposting the information below from the OfficialpapersUK blog.

Please send your feedback to the BL as requested below.

The UK Web Archive has a new user interface! Please try it and give us your feedback by completing the short survey at . There are several new features:

  • For the first time you can search both the ‘Open UK Web Archive’” and the ‘Legal Deposit Web Archive’ from the same search box. The Open UK Web Archive was started in 2005 and comprises approximately 15,000 websites that can be viewed anywhere. The Legal Deposit Web Archive was started in 2013 and comprises millions of websites but these can only be viewed in the Reading Rooms of UK Legal Deposit Libraries.
  • We have improved the search and have included faceting so that it’s easier to find what you are looking for
  • A simple, clean design that (hopefully) allows the content to be the focus
  • Easily browsable ‘Special Collections’ (curated groups of websites on a theme, topic or event, including Brexit, the EU Referendum and the 2015 and 2017 General Elections)

Jennie Grimshaw, British Library

POST – Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Post provides balanced and accessible overviews of research from across the biological, physical and social sciences, and engineering and technology. They place the findings of this research in a policy context for Parliamentary use.

The best known format for these briefings are ‘POSTnotes’: four page summaries of public policy issues based on reviews of the research literature and interviews with stakeholders from across academia, industry, government and the third sector; they are peer reviewed by external experts. POSTnotes are often produced proactively, so that parliamentarians have advance knowledge of key issues before they reach the top of the political agenda.

US National Archives Releases JFK Assassination Records

John F. Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963

The USA’s National Archives is releasing documents previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.  These releases include FBI, CIA, and other agency documents (both formerly withheld in part and formerly withheld in full) identified by the Assassination Records Review Board as assassination records.

Their collection page has links to the Warren Commission and Autopsy reports which are freely available to view.

Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive now freely available online

The Library at Queen’s University Belfast has been developing an online archive, known as the Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive (NIOPA).

They  are delighted to announce that this archive is now freely available at the following address:

NIOPA is fully searchable with browsing and full text functionality and, as a digital archive of Northern Ireland official publications, makes documents available to support the research community, government departments and the wider public.

They welcome your feedback and any enquiries that you may have

please contact

For your information, NIOPA records and documents are deposited with the British Library under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013.

A formal launch of NIOPA is planned for early 2018.




Disposable household income in Scotland in 2015

Check what the average disposable income is for your area

Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) is the total amount of money households have available for spending or saving after tax and National Insurance contributions. This is the money individuals have to spend on household bills, food and other items.

Scotland currently has the fifth highest level of GDHI per person at £18,315, which is just below the UK average of £19,106 per person.  Key information is also avaiable from the latest release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS),Regional Gross Disposable Household Income from 1997 to 2015.1


New iLibrary platforms for international publications

These sites are free to use, but you’ll need a subscription if you wish to download, save or copy any information – or if you want to take advantage of the time saving features.  You can find a list of sales partners here for further information on costs etc.

Meanwhile explore the sites for free
United Nations iLibrary

International Telecommunication Union iLibrary

Nordic iLibrary

The Commonwealth iLibrary

OECD iLibrary  

The National Library of Scotland has a subscripion for the OECD iLibrary which gives increased functionality to this site. It accessible remotely to anyone in Scotland with a Library reader’s card.


Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, Processes and Public Participation – Free course

From the 18th September Future Learn is offering  a 3 week course which will cover

• the difference between Parliament and Government including differing roles and responsibilities
• the three parts of Parliament and the role Parliament plays in scrutinising the work of the Government
• an introduction to the work of the House of Commons and the House of Lords
• how Parliamentary Questions are used by MPs and members of the House of Lords to hold the Government to account
• the difference between oral and written questions, and how questions can be used to seek immediate answers on urgent or important matters
• what happens during Prime Minister’s Questions and public perceptions of PMQs
• debates in Parliament, including some of the rules and conventions
• the role and work of select committees
• the different types of Bill, and the process of how a Bill becomes a law
• the effect that changes in the law can have on individuals and on society, with reference to specific case studies
• the different ways the public can input in the work of the UK Parliament.