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Health most lobbied area by politicians and government last year

Health policy was the area that our politicians and government departments were most lobbied about last year.

The annual report of the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) Commission says some areas of ethics legislation need to be tightened up.

SIPO was notified of 10,000 lobbying activities last year by nearly 1,700 organisations or lobbyists.

Health continued to be the most lobbied about area, followed by economic development, agriculture, justice and equality, and housing.

The Commission issued 522 fines to lobbyists for late returns, but none went to court, and overall there was good compliance with lobbying and political ethics legislation.

The current rules impose a one-year cooling off period for former politicians or public servants who want to lobby their former departments.

SIPO recommends this should be tightened up, as those with a high profile could have influence across a wide range of public bodies, and not just their former department.

- Digital Desk