Electoral Commission reforms Lobbying Act guidance

New campaigning guidance for non-party campaigners

The Electoral Commission has published new guidance for individuals and organisations campaigning around elections.

The guidance aims to help non-party campaigners understand the rules, and support them to campaign with confidence all year-round.

Electoral law regulates the amount of money spent on political campaigning in the lead up to elections and referendums. This is an important part of ensuring fairness and transparency for voters. However, the rules can be difficult to navigate for organisations which are not used to political campaigning.

Following the last general election, non-party campaigners called for greater clarity on the rules, so that they could campaign with confidence throughout the year.

Campaign Collective Freedom to Campaign Guide

As a social enterprise committed to supporting charities and other public service organisations, Campaign Collective invested its social purpose fund in creating a Freedom To Campaign Guide.

The Campaign Collective guide gives campaigners the confidence to know what they can and cannot do. It has been downloaded and viewed online more than 3,000 times in the 18 months since its launch.

Clear advice for campaigners

The Commission has worked closely with charities to produce the new guidance, using real-life case studies to provide clear, authoritative advice to campaigners.

Simon Francis, Founder Member of Campaign Collective, commented:

We welcome the Electoral Commission’s recognition that guidance to campaigners needed reform and the new guidance is a major step forward.

Charities still face additional complexities because of the regulations specific to them when it comes to political communications.

With a snap general election an increasing possibility, I would urge all campaigners to look at the official guidance and our Freedom To Campaign guide afresh.

Louise Edwards, the Commission’s Director of Regulation, said:

We understand the challenges faced by organisations which don’t regularly engage in political campaigning, and it’s an important part of our role to support them in understanding how they can comply with the law.  Campaigning is a vital part of the democratic process and we hope this guidance will enable groups to campaign with confidence all year-round.

The feedback from campaigners has been invaluable in making it as clear and helpful as possible.  We thank the third sector organisations and UK charity regulators who worked with us on producing this new resource.

Karl Wilding, Chief Executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), added:

This new guidance provides much greater clarity for charities and should make it clearer that charities can campaign with confidence. Although there are still issues which we believe need changes to the legislation itself, we’re very pleased that the Electoral Commission has taken our feedback on board and done what it can within current electoral law to address many of the concerns charities have expressed about their ability to campaign.

To access the new guidance, visit: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/non-party-campaigners-where-start

Leave a Reply