New research from campaigners’ organisation Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) has revealed the chilling reality of the Lobbying Act.
Less than a third (32%) of campaigners reported that they have not changed their campaigning as a result of the Act, demonstrating that the “chilling effect” of the Act which charity leaders warned about is a reality.
Over half of charities (51%) say the Act has affected their ability to achieve their organisational mission or vision. While 35% say they have avoided issues seen as too politically ‘live’ and 36% say they have changed their language or tone in campaigning.
Simon Francis, Founder Member of Campaign Collective and Chair of the PRCA Charity and Not-For-Profit group, commented:
The chilling reality of the Lobbying Act is clear to see, but the Act is here to stay as government has rejected any attempts to reform or repeal the poorly worded and badly implemented legislation.
It’s not a surprise the Act has had a negative impact on campaigners’ ability to achieve objectives. What’s most shocking is that campaigners have also been pulling their punches when it comes to the language used in their campaigns.
The Freedom To Campaign Guide to the Lobbying Act has been developed to ensure that charities and campaigners know what they CAN do under the rules. It’s testament to the confusion of the Act itself and formal guidance that so many campaigners have now downloaded the Guide.