The government has announced that it is “pausing” the implementation of its controversial policy requiring an “anti-lobbying” clause to be inserted in all grant agreements. The Cabinet Office had previously released interim guidance stipulating that all new grant agreements and renewals entered into between government departments and grantees from 1 May 2016 would have to include a clause prohibiting the use of grant funds for an “activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, Government or political parties … or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory activity” (see the government's press release here). According to the guidance, only in exceptional circumstances and with explicit agreement from the relevant minister would a department be able to remove the clause or qualify it in a grant agreement. A large number of civil society organisations have raised concerns about the clause, not least because of the clause’s apparently extensive scope and potential unintended consequences.
On 19 April 2016 Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson MPannounced that the clause would not apply in relation to certain research bodies. The Cabinet Office has now said it is “pausing the implementation [of the clause] pending a review of the representations made” and that they “will take a decision on the form of the clause following this review.” Organisations in receipt of grant funding will no doubt wish to follow this review closely.
If you would like to discuss this issue, please contact Melanie Carter.
Posted on 04/05/2016 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge