Policy Mapping & Responsible Lobbying Guidelines

H/Advisors Cicero was tasked with updating the Novartis external facing lobbying guidelines and internal handbook. The brief involved a root and branch review of the lobbying landscape globally, to mitigate any reputational risk to Novartis and establish a principles-based approach to external stakeholder engagement.

Strategy & Execution

Detailed desk research of legislation surrounding lobbying was conducted and a review of institutions’ best practice guidelines, this included standalone reports of key markets including UK, US, EU and China. A further comparative report was delivered that compared the external lobbying guidelines published by other global pharmaceutical companies, to demonstrate the key attributes required for best practice.

Following the research phase, H/Advisors Cicero delivered a series of workshops with country leads across the Novartis global network to review their understanding of lobbying best practice and help align messaging for the new guidelines. For example, exploring whether the word “lobbying” was appropriate, or if an alternative term should be used instead. 

New guidelines were drafted utilizing the workshop insights. Previous Novartis policy documentation was cross-referenced to ensure consistency in language and length. Ongoing working sessions with the client were used to ensure a collaborative approach to delivering the new guidelines. 

As all companies face increasing scrutiny around practicing good governance, establishing clear and robust guidelines around how to lobby appropriately is an essential for global corporations to protect themselves reputationally. Delivering this project for Novartis involved understanding all the lobbying regulations globally, and identifying where the grey areas of risk lie in how companies engage. Our approach was to ensure Novartis not only met the requirements, but sought to be best in class, through empowering all their colleagues globally to follow the revised Guideline.

Sarah Bosworth, Account Director


We successfully delivered the new guideline draft for Novartis, which redefined its scope to include public policy and stakeholder engagement. The revised guideline adopted a principles-based approach, designed to increase the accountability and responsibility of all colleagues to make informed and responsible decisions.

We also helped to promote the guidelines internally with an animated explainer video and are currently working on developing the internal handbook. 

If you wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Sarah in H/Advisors Cicero’s Research team on