Quasi-govt body defends our code

Harry Rich, who was recently reappointed as Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists at the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL) – the body that oversees the lobbying industry – gave evidence to parliament about codes of conduct in the public affairs industry.

Noises from some self-interested and self-policed organisations in the industry suggest that so-called “self-written” codes are not independent nor independently enforceable. The Registrar rebuked this claim:

Rich declared: “Self-written codes of conduct are an interesting area. I am required under the Act to allow a registrant to declare any relevant code. I have described in guidance what a relevant code is. Most importantly, and this is where the myth comes in, in order for a registrant to declare their own code they have to have within that code independent external oversight of that code. They cannot mark their own homework. To be fair, when I enforced that, the number of self-written codes diminished rapidly—we are down to just seven at the moment.”

Thorncliffe has an externally-enforced code of conduct, which has been approved by ORCL. ORCL have very strict requirements that codes must be externally-enforced to gain their approval.

Managing Director, Richard Patient, said “Together with our Investors in People Gold award, we are proud of the work we do, the best practice we have and the very high standards that we achieve.”

To receive this approval, Thorncliffe adheres to an externally-enforced Code of Conduct, which protects and strengthens public confidence in what we do. 

Key points within our code are:

  • Conduct within the code is overseen by an Independent Adjudicator, who is a member of the Bar Council or Law Society.
  • Thorncliffe’s Code of Conduct is part of all colleague’s employment contracts and has been operating since 2005, albeit continually being revised.
  • We have our own register to monitor our communications with national politicians and the UK Government
  • Our triple-lock means colleagues have to adhere to the law, their council code (if they are also councillors) and the company code.

Harry Rich was speaking (on 15/11/22) to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, giving oral evidence on post-legislative scrutiny of the lobbying act. His remarks about codes are at Q142.

ORCL is the organisation that oversees the lobbying industry, is an independent statutory office holder and receives funding via a sponsor government department.

To download our code, go to https://www.thorncliffe.com/orcllink/

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