Lobbying and Campaigning Contacts - Contents
Freedom of Information
FoI legislation gives a legal right to request access to all types of “recorded” information held by public bodies. Some reference sources:
- The Information Commissioner’s Office is the official overseer of the regulations under Freedom of Information (England and Wales). This body also has responsibility for Environmental Information Regulations.
- Scotland has a separate (but similar) FOI regime – see Scottish Information Commissioner. Also see Scottish Government’s FOI pages.
- The UK government’s Freedom of Information policy moved from the Ministry of Justice to the Cabinet Office in July 2015.
- Campaign for Freedom of Information is keeping an eye on issues and publishing advice. Published January 05 is A Short Guide to the Freedom of Information Act and Other New Access Rights in pdf format, 526kb – a recommended starting point.
- freedomofinformation.co.uk is providing consultancy and research services and has some useful resources on their site.
Note: organisations providing public services will also have obligations under FoI.
Lobbying and PR issues
Alliance for Lobbying Transparency is comprised of civil society groups concerned about the growing influence of professional lobbying on Government decision-making and life in the UK.
Spinwatch monitors the role of public relations and spin in contemporary society.
Also see Government/democracy/media in our Areas of Concern section.
Gov.uk is the starting point for government info (was DirectGov). Try the citizenship section re petitions, the announcements section for news and speeches – possibly public consultations (there doesn’t seem to be a separate section).
We can’t currently (Sep. 2014) find any details on signing up for the Gov.uk email alerts service (which replaced info4local etc.), which used to provide news from the government departments and agencies.
Dod’s have a range of guides to parliamentary process and contacts, including what is now Vacher’s Quarterly. They’ve also got online directories for UK, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, European Union etc.
Writetothem is an independent facility to help make contact with Councillors, MP, MEPs, MSPs, or Welsh and London Assembly Members.
Also see Campaign Resources page under Useful Publications, Campaign Help, etc.
Hansard Society promotes effective parliamentary democracy; runs a Lobbying training series with Directory of Social Change on occasional basis. St. Philips Building, Sheffield St, WC2 2EX, phone 020 7955 7459, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- House of Commons gives information on what is going on in the main chamber and elsewhere and various factsheets on how Parliament works.
- House of Commons Information Office has list MPs email addresses where available.
- House of Lords Information on upcoming business, members etc.
- UK Parliament home page.
All government departments are now on GOV.UK – the following links should forward to the correct sections if they haven’t been updated by us yet.
- Department of Communities and Local Government Includes planning issues.
- Department for Transport.
- Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
- Department for Education (was Dept for Children, Schools and Families).
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
- Department of Health.
- Home Office Some of the main subjects covered: Crime/Drugs Prevention; Immigration and Passports.
- Ministry of Justice Includes Prisons and Youth Justice. Management of courts, appointment of judges, admin of legal aid, data protection, freedom of information and electoral law.
- Department for International Development The website section on ‘Working with Civil Society Organisations’ may have gone, spring 2013.
- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Includes science.
- HM Treasury.
- Cabinet Office has an Office of Civil Society – see their Community and Society web pages. The Ceremonial Secretariat deals with the honours system, including nominations.
- How Government Works has info on government ministers and government structure/departments.
- Go to the Number 10/Prime Ministers website for top government topics.
The Stationery Office Online Bookshop All the official publications in one place.
National Statistics Includes details of National Statistics Information and Library Service public libraries in Pimlico (London) and Newport (South Wales) under Services.
- Scottish Parliament Well set up – has email contacts for different parts, biographies and register of interest of MSPs. Also see Petitions section, where you can add your name to an existing petition or find out how to raise a new one.
- Scottish Government.
- SCVO is active in keeping tabs on the Scottish political process. Check the information and campaigning sections on the website for useful material.
- Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) The body which represents local government in Scotland. Information about the organisation itself, member councils, areas of current work, publications etc.
- National Assembly for Wales Current assembly business and members info.
- Welsh Government.
- WCVA – Voluntary Sector Assembly Centre can provide various resources for voluntary organisation dealings with the Welsh Assembly.
- Northern Ireland Assembly.
- Northern Ireland Government main web server.
- Northern Ireland’s Executive Office has a guide to policy making and a Policy Toolkit designed to promote good practice in policy-making in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
- Northern Ireland’s sector body NICVA has a weekly Assembly Insider email newsletter, covering the work of the NI Assembly.
Government Offices in the Regions
These were due to close 2012.
These were the democratic/political relation to the regional development agencies, but may no longer have much of a role (summer 2010) and are likely to radically change/disappear (apart from GLA).
- Voluntary sector forums and links to the assemblies – see Local Contacts – Regional.
- East Midlands Councils.
- South West Regional Assembly.
- Greater London Assembly Assembly meetings dates, agendas, mayor’s speeches etc.
Regional Development Agencies
all closed by March 2012. There may be some remnant of these bodies still operational but they don’t have any formal governmental role.
Information on what English councils do, how to contact councillors etc. is available via Gov.Uk.
Local Government Association site is pretty good. If you are looking for a list of local authority web sites, go to Search, then Links.
London Councils develops policy, lobbies government and others, and runs a range of services “designed to make life better for Londoners”.
New Local Government Network A membership organisation which supports reform and modernisation in local government. The site contains information about the Network as well as news, key issues, events and debates.
See more general/sector European contacts on a separate page.
- European Parliament UK Office Includes info on MEPs.
- European Parliament news room (English).
- European Social Fund (ESF).
- European Union main server.
A directory of MEPs and the European parliament calendar can be obtained from the library of the parliament’s London office.
EmbassyWorld is a searchable global database.