Lobbying public bodies

The term comes from the lobby area of Parliament where members of the public can go to meet in person with their MPs. Lobbying involves individuals and organisations exerting pressure onto contacts within decision-making bodies with the aim of influencing legislation. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and interest groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the RSPB and Oxfam, representing many different sections of society and political views seek to promote their particular priorities. Their methods will vary depending on their degree of access to decision-makers. Those groups whose views are close to the positions of those who are making the decisions may be able to rely on informal channels, whereas less mainstream causes and interests will need to resort to more public methods such as letter writing and petitioning. Organisations with a financial interest in influencing policy might choose to make donations to political parties. Lobbying can be done by an in-house lobbyist or a professional contract lobbyist not connected to the interest group, also known as political consultants. Following the United States, regulation of political consultants has been introduced in the UK to protect against bribery and corruption.