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Summary of Investigation – Big Innovation Centre

August – December 2020

Organisation or Person Investigated

Big Innovation Centre (BIC)

Matter(s) Investigated

Whether Big Innovation Centre (BIC) carries out activities that fall
within the terms of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union
Administration Act 2014 (‘the Act’).

Summary of Rationale for Decision

BIC provided initial assurances that their activities do
not fall within the definition consultant lobbying in the Act. The Registrar required further and
detailed explanation of BIC’s work on behalf of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). BIC
gave explicit assurance that:
• BIC does not and has never communicated with a Government Minister or Permanent
Secretary on behalf of either of the APPGs it provides services to (AI and Blockchain).
• BIC’s work on behalf of both APPGs is restricted to back-office administration.
• Any APPG contact with Ministers is conducted by an officer of the APPG, not by BIC.

Registrar’s Decision

BIC’s activities do not currently fall within the terms of the Act for
consultant lobbying, based on assurances given by BIC.

Chronology

DateAction
6 August 2020


Email from journalist, suggesting that the BIC appears to be
in violation of the Act by conducting unregistered consultant
lobbying for APPGs.
7 August 2020 Formal letter from Registrar setting out the requirements of Act
and asking whether BIC has undertaken relevant
communications within the scope of the Act. Written response
requested by 21 August.
24 August 2020Email from Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists
(ORCL) requiring a response to the Registrar’s letter by
end Wednesday 26 August.
3 September 2020
Following no response, Statutory Information Notice issued
requiring response within 30 days. Notice asks whether BIC
has conducted any activity that would be considered
consultant lobbying under the terms of the Act; and for
information on dates of any such activity, and who BIC
was representing.
21 September 2020 Letter from BIC stating they do not engage in lobbying.
30 September 2020 Questions for clarification, emailed to BIC for response by 6
October.
4 November 2020 Following no reply, further Information Notice issued for
clarification of BIC’s role regarding the Act: whether BIC
communicates with Ministers on behalf of the APPGs it
supports; the nature of APPG support; and more information on
self representation.
20 November 2020 Response from Big Innovation Centre, answering clarification
questions.
1 December 2020Meeting between BIC and the Registrar to clarify whether APPG
contact with Ministers is through BIC. Clarification on the Act
given by the Registrar, and assurances given by BIC that they
are not consultant lobbying.
2 December 2020Registrar writes to BIC seeking formal confirmation of
matters discussed in meeting:
• BIC does not and has never communicated with a
Government Minister or Permanent Secretary on behalf of
either of the APPGs BIC provides services to (AI and
Blockchain).
• BIC’s work on behalf of both APPGs is restricted to back
office administration.
• Any APPG contact with Ministers is conducted by an
officer of the APPG, not by BIC.
14 December 2020Email from BIC confirming the points set out in the Registrar’s
letter of 2/12/2020.

17 December 2020

Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists

office@orcl.gov.uk