New lobbying regulations and community organisations

Scottish Parliament logoThe Lobbying (Scotland) Act was recently signed into law, bringing with it new requirements for community organisations who discuss their work with MSPs, Scottish Government ministers, Special Advisers and the Permanent Secretary.

If as an employee of your organisation you discuss government policy or decision making with certain people then you might need to register as a regulated lobbyist and note the discussion on the new website.

The rules are fairly complex, with specific exemptions which limit the scope of the requirements somewhat. For example, if you’re a charity with less than ten employees or if you’re talking in a personal capacity then registration is not necessary. This ‘Common Scenarios’ guidance is helpful in showing some real-world examples.

The Alliance have published a helpful blog post, providing some background to the Act, as well publishing their new policy for Alliance staff. They outline their decision-making process for whether a discussion needs to registered or not.

This Scottish Parliament chart shows what you should consider:

Lobbying chart

The exemptions are broad enough to cover some activity community organisations, and others, might carry out. However, if you’re having these types of discussions we’d suggest having a look at the new guidance and deciding what action to take from there.

There’s more information here.

Reference List: Scottish Community Development Centre. 2018. Retrieved from



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