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'Lobbying' is when individuals or organisations attempt to influence decisions made by the government.

In some cases, it is necessary to record such activity in the Lobbying Register - although you should not find this process intimidating. There are a number of exemptions from this requirement, many of which will apply in the case of museums. 

Lobbying rules only apply to face-to-face (or video call) communication. Emails, letters, tweets, phone calls or other forms of communication do not constitute regulated lobbying.

Lobbying does not have to be registered if you are communicating with an MSP who represents the constituency or region where you live or where your organisation is based or ordinarily operates within. This exemption does not apply if your constituency or regional MSP is a Scottish Government minister. 

Lobbying does not have to be registered if you are working on a voluntary basis. 

Lobbying does not have to be registered if it was undertaken when your company/organisation had fewer than 10
full-time employees. This exemption does not apply if you are communicating on behalf of a third party, or in a representative capacity.

For more information, please see the Lobbying Register's website. 

What is Regulated Lobbying?

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 came into effect on 12 March 2018.

You may need to register lobbying if you have undertaken oral, face-to-face (or video call) communication with MSPs, Scottish Government Ministers, Special Advisers and the Permanent Secretary.

Only oral communication, undertaken on a paid basis, is covered by the Act. The Act does not limit where or when regulated lobbying may take place and the guidance suggests speeches at events with MSPs, or those with a stake in the comments, could be considered regulated lobbying.

2. Your communication was in relation to Scottish Government or Scottish parliamentary functions, meaning any discussions you have in relation to:

  • Legislation made in the Scottish Parliament or Scottish Government policy
  • Contracts, grants and other financial assistance; licences and other authorisations where the Scottish Government has a role
  • matters an MSP can take forward inside or outside the Scottish Parliament.

3. You used the opportunity to inform or influence decisions on behalf of your organisation (or those you represent).

The nature of the conversation is important, as not all conversations are ‘regulated lobbying’. IN this instance, museum staff would be required to make a judgement on whether your conversation sought to influence policy or decision-making, mindful that recording ‘regulated lobbying’ is a legal requirement.

4. You are a paid individual, representing the views of your organisation (or those you represent).

Trustees, Boards of Directors, and volunteers are exempt.

5. If you are certain the activity which you are undertaking is not covered by an exemption to the Act.

In all circumstances where this is not the case, your activity should be registered.

Registering Lobbying

A Lobbying Register has been established under the Act, which requires organisations to record any 'Regulated Lobbying' they undertake. The register is a publicly available website, detailing lobbying undertaken by organisations or where an MSP has been lobbied.  Regulated lobbying should be logged within 6 months of the Act coming into effect and on a 6-monthly basis thereafter.


If you are unsure of whether your actions constitute Regulated Lobbying, please contact:

Dan Paris 

Advocacy & Public Affairs Manager