The representation of a private or public organisation’s interests with decision-making centres, whether legislative or regulatory, is commonly known as lobbying. In common language and journalistic approximations, the term has taken on a connotation that is frequently not positive, as it has been linked to situations of bad business or illegal trafficking, while its technical meaning states a fundamental function in modern-day democracies.
If carried out transparently and responsibly, it can make decision-making processes in our institutions more efficient and more democratic, intended to balance out competition between particular interests and collective interests. In a healthy, open socio-economic system,, it is possible to compete and obtain results if you have the ability to transmit information to the law-making body and set up and maintain effective relations with it. At the same time, the law-making body is able to make useful, efficient decisions only if it knows the actual impact of the same, before they are actually taken.
Alongside lobbying aimed at national decision-making centres, there is an increasing need to represent interests at an international and supra-national level, as law production sites have now multiplied and are consolidating. The interlocutors of a person carrying interests are now European (European Parliament Commission), national (Parliament and Government) and regional (Regional Councils).
Lobbying and more generally public affairs are fundamental activities for companies and organisations in general, required for relations that they constantly maintain with public subjects. They are subjects to be studied and which it is possible to specialise in. Public affairs work also combines with communication campaigns that companies carry out to support or manifest against European Union Parliament, Government and Regional Administration choices. Topics related to the mechanisms of representation of interests, are handled at the winter school with an innovative, operational standpoint, starting with the consideration that in democratic societies only a few subjects can propose laws but many can inspire, criticise and attempt to amend them.
In American society, the home of lobbying, this activity has always been a recognised and official part of the system. In Italy, on the other hand, lobbying has often been carried out - in spite of the fact there are no is regulatory framework - by large public and private companies, trade unions, and large associations representing companies and trade. This means only those with decidedly greater means than most economic operators. Today, representation and institutional communication is beginning to obtain greater recognition in our country too, if only for the current attempt to make it more transparent and regulated. Also, alongside the interests of individuals, the idea that lobbying may protect collective interests such as the environment, research and social matters is also growing.
The winter school wants to offer the essential knowledge and tools to learn to understand and carry out lobbying in a transparent and professional manner and to manage institutional relations in observance of the current law in force. The aim is to prepare professionals who can work in companies, regional and national associations, legislative assemblies at various levels of government (local, national, supra-national), in public bodies, private and public associations that deal with anti-corruption procedures and NGOs, by allowing them to acquire inter-disciplinary knowledge.