Freedom to Campaign: Public Commentary and Party Policy

A charity’s policy position may be similar to that of one of the political parties. In this case it is entirely acceptable for the charity to continue to campaign on that issue.

What you can do

  • Promote the charity’s views on issues which relate to its charitable objectives.
  • Outline the policies of each political party as long as the charity maintains a neutral tone towards each party.
  • Approach candidates to set out their concerns and ask for the candidate’s opinion to promote debate.
  • Publish the views of candidates in local and national elections where these views relate to the charity’s purposes.
  • Publish a manifesto to publicise the issues on which the charity campaigns.
  • Call for change on behalf of the charity’s beneficiaries.
  • Welcome a change in party policy, if the charity does so straight after the announcement.

If you do this, you may break charity law or need to register as a third party campaigner

  • Compare the charity’s views with any of the political parties or candidates.
  • Reciprocate support if a candidate publicly supports the charity.
  • Encourage support for any particular party or candidate.
  • Grant permission to a political party to refer to the charity in their manifesto.
  • Continue to reference support for a party’s policy change after the initial welcome.
  • Alter or increase campaigning as a result of a political party’s support.
  • Campaign on an issue that is closely linked to one party or candidate.
  • Start campaigning as a reaction to a new policy position of a political party.
  • Start campaigning on issues prominent in public debate or that clearly represent an area of difference between political parties, unless this is something on which you have always campaigned and is linked to your charitable objectives.

IN BRIEF:  A charity can refer to its own issues and beneficiaries and it can publish factual information about party political positions, but it cannot draw comparisons with charity policy or influence voter behaviour.

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