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(non) regulation of lobbying in the uk December 17, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : lobbying , comments closed

The House of Commons Public Administration Committee published a report yesterday which concludes that not much progress hs been made on the regulation of lobbying:

We are encouraged that our report has led to some tentative movement in the direction of better regulation of lobbying and greater transparency on the part of government and the lobbying industry. However, progress is slow and we remain sceptical that effective regulation will be achieved without legislation. Some lobbyists may be delaying regulation in the hope that the concentration on their activities will die down after a General Election. This would be a cynical attitude which we believe would misjudge the public mood. If the industry is serious about trying to avoid external regulation then it needs to have robust procedures in place for self-regulation before the General Election.

eu pr in the us December 10, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : eu , comments closed

I heard, with some surprise, on the radio this afternoon that the EU (described as involving 27 countries, and with a reference to the eu website (and today there’s a link from the front page to an item on climate change)) is one of the funders of NPR. NPR didn’t say how much financial support the EU gave, so this may not involve much money, but it’s a bit more directed than the EU youtube channel (and, what’s more, directed at the US). I’m not sure what benefits the EU hopes to derive from this publicity either – the message didn’t really have any content. And I’m not sure how the expenditure relates to the EU’s objectives, which include the following language:

In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.

So maybe the announcements will stop after Copenhagen?

why isn’t every day an anti-corruption day? December 10, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : ethics , comments closed

Yesterday was international anti-corruption day (some events are listed here). I guess that today we can get back to our normal corrupt ways. Well, that’s probably not the intended message.

uk consumer focused consultations December 3, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : consultation , comments closed

piggy bank

I’m working on a paper on consultation at the moment. The paper really focuses on consultation in the context of transnational standard-setting, but I’m also looking at consultation in the domestic context as well. My initial starting point was that there is much more coherence in the structure and uses of consultation domestically than transnationally (and this may in fact be so in the US under the APA) but variations in consultation practice in the UK seem to shake this up a bit.

This week the UK’s BIS has published two new consultations: one on provision of financial services via post offices and the other on the role and powers of the Consumer Advocate. The post office consultation has a dedicated web page, which has a cute picture of a piggy bank (above), and a short video, and states:

We want to hear about the financial services you would like to see at your local Post Office

The other consultation doesn’t have cute pictures. The consumer advocate consultation document has a white cover, and the other one has a nice picture of a friendly looking post office worker. Both consultation periods opened yesterday, but the consumer advocate consultation runs to March 5th whereas the post office consultation closes on February 24th. The responsible ministers are different: Kevin Brennan for the consumer advocate and Peter Mandelson for the post office. So the variations could be due to the differences in the people involved, or could reflect an assessment that the post office consultation is more salient given the impending election.

ratings and rankings December 3, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : rankings/ratings , comments closed

The LSAC funded study of the effects of US News Rankings on Law Schools by Michael Sauder and Wendy Espeland is available here.

Morningstar published its corporate credit rating methodology along with a number of new ratings.

uk, eu, financial regulation December 3, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , comments closed

The struggles in the EU over the shape of financial regulation look a little different now that internal market commissioner is to be Michel Barnier (i.e. not one of those free-wheeling anglo-saxons). The UK’s financial sector has taken exception to criticism of the anglo-saxon model (see, for example, the reaction of British Bankers’ Association here). Meanwhile the Council approved changes to the EU regulatory framework with a view to getting the Parliament on board quickly. The UK’s Treasury Select Committee argued recently that rushing this proposal through wasn’t desirable, in part because:

It is not clear how these proposals relate to global initiatives for regulatory reform.

How much the European approach to financial regulation will change with these developments is as yet uncertain. How will European financial regulation compare in the future with that in the US, and how will it fit with the G20 commitments to harmonize approaches to financial regulation?

guardian competition December 1, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : games , comments closed

The Guardian is running a competition for the best explanation of Tony Blair’s finances, but it is only open to UK residents aged 18 or over.

eu moves forward December 1, 2009

Posted by Bradley in : eu , comments closed

The Treaty of Lisbon is in force today.