Since 1991, the Charter of the Association Française des Conseils en Lobbying et Affaires Publiques has been the pivot around which the councils sharing a common, rigorous and innovative ethical vision of their activity have gathered. Revised several times, this Charter has always sought to uphold the principles of transparency, integrity and respect for the independence of the public decision-making process. The 2017 revision of the Charter aimed in particular to take into account the definition of representative of interests, introduced in French law by the law of 9 December 2016.
Article 1 : Définition
Lobbying and public affairs aim to represent the interests of a company, professional organization, association or public body to public decision-makers through a balanced and contradictory sharing of information.
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council advises businesses, professional organizations, associations or public bodies and offers strategic and operational support to accompany them.
It deploys different expertise relating to the representation of interests but also to relations with stakeholders, monitoring, the production of arguments and, more generally, strategic communication.
Exercise of the profession
Article 2: Professional Status
The lobbying and public affairs advisory profession may be exercised either as an individual or as a partner or employee in a consulting company.
Article 3: Professional Probity
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Board conducts its business with integrity and probity.
Article 4: Professional incompatibilities
The practice of the lobbying and public affairs consulting profession is inconsistent with:
- any national, European elective political mandate within a regional, departmental, metropolitan, Paris or Lyon or Marseille municipal councils;
- any employment within the Presidency of the Republic, a ministerial cabinet, parliamentary assemblies, or with the executive bodies of local authorities, in public functions, within an independent administrative or public authority or political party.
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council holding a local elected mandate shall refrain from any mission in connection with its electoral territory.
Article 5: Lack of remuneration of elected officials and public officials
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Board shall not remunerate, on a permanent or temporary basis and in any form:
- any person holding a national, European elected political mandate within a regional, departmental, metropolitan, Paris or Lyon or Marseille municipal council;
- any employee of the President of the Republic, member of a ministerial cabinet, parliamentary collaborator, member or collaborator of an executive body of territorial authority, an independent administrative or public authority or a political party.
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council shall comply with the applicable rules with respect to the assignment of ad hoc expertise of representatives of the public service or the recruitment of former public servants.
Article 6: Obligation of means
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council recommends the strategy and means necessary to achieve the objectives of its clients. It participates in the implementation of the missions defined jointly with its clients. It is subject to an obligation of means.
Relations with the institutions
Section 7: Registration, Advertising and Control
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council shall register in the digital directory of interest representatives, declare the identity of its clients, when it engages in interest representation activities for them that meet the criteria set out in the texts, and any other information required.
It shall also comply with the principles and rules of professional conduct associated therewith and shall submit to the supervision of the High Authority for the transparency of public life, such as Parliamentary Assemblies, for the rules applicable to representatives of interests with regard to each of them.
Article 8: Transparency in contacts and access to institutions
In its contacts with representatives of public authorities and elected officials, the Lobbying and Public Affairs Council declares its identity and the interests it represents.
Lobbying and public affairs advice does not require special or privileged access to institutions.
It shall comply with the rules on access and movement in force within the institutions, in particular those applicable to representatives of interests.
Section 9: Compliance with Regulations and Codes of Conduct
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council shall comply with the legislation in force, the rules of procedure of the representative assemblies and national, European and international institutions, as well as the deliberations of the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life.
It shall take account of the opinions of the High Authority on the transparency of public life and of the ethics of parliamentary assemblies.
Article 10: Official documents, conferences, clubs and invitations
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council shall comply with the rules in force for obtaining and disseminating official documents and shall, in particular, refrain from distributing them for profit.
It is also prohibited to organize, within the institutions, symposia, meetings, clubs and events during which external participants would be invited to intervene subject to financial participation.
Furthermore, the use for commercial purposes of this conference, club or event, any official logo or any reference to an institution, such as the parliamentary term for example, is prohibited.
It ensures a pluralistic and non-partisan approach, transparent and fair in the conditions of registration or membership in the conferences, clubs and events it organises.
It undertakes to make public the names of the financial partners of these events, on a website or on the venue of these events.
Finally, it is obliged to inform parliamentarians and public actors of the cost of invitations addressed to them in order to enable them to comply with their own reporting obligations.
Article 11: Conflict of Interest Between Missions
In the event of a risk of conflict of interest between its clients on similar or competing objectives, the Lobbying and Public Affairs Board is obliged to inform and respond to them in good coordination with them.
Article 12: Obligation of confidentiality
Due to the strategic nature of the files dealt with, the Lobbying and Public Affairs Board is bound by a duty of reservation, a duty of confidentiality and, often, solicitor-client privilege.
Article 13 : Compliance with Good Practices, Laws and Regulations
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council attracts the attention of its client when its objectives or the means envisaged to achieve them, without being contrary to any use or rule, are inappropriate or disproportionate.
When they are contrary to good professional practices or the regulations and laws in force, he alerts his client and forbids himself to participate.
Article 14: Integrity of Information Transmitted
The Lobbying and Public Affairs Council undertakes to disseminate or relay only the most honest and rigorous information available, on the basis of what companies, professional organizations, associations or public bodies having recourse to its services shall make available to it.
Article 15: Compliance with the Charter and possible sanctions
Each member of the AFCL undertakes to respect the principles set out in this Charter in each of the tasks entrusted to him or her and to enforce them within his or her consulting company.
Any breach of these principles is liable to a suspension of membership, pronounced by the bureau of the AFCL, or even a cancellation of the association, pronounced by the General Assembly of the AFCL.