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The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Complaints

What you would like to complain about?

If your complaint falls into one of the categories below, please see what we do and don't regulate, or click below for more information.

  • Political advertising or campaign election material
Political advertising or campaign election material

We frequently receive complaints about political advertising or campaign material and the behaviour of candidates, especially in the period before an election. These are not within the scope of the complaints policy and will be referred to our Public Information Team.

While we have regulatory duties relating to campaign spending, including in relation to political advertising/election material, we have very few powers to deal with the content of material published by candidates and parties, or their general conduct. In most cases we will not be able to deal with such complaints, which should instead be made directly to the party or candidate responsible for the material.

If you feel that the content of the material may constitute a criminal offence, you should contact the police. Every police force has a dedicated Single Point of Contact officer (SPOC), who may be contacted about such allegations.

  • Electoral registration, voting or polling station issues
Electoral registration, voting or polling station issues

England and Wales
Complaints about electoral registration, voting or polling station issues should  be directed to your local authority in the first instance as they will be best placed to address your complaint. You can find the contact details for your local authority here.

You can still speak to us for advice about your complaint by contacting your local Commission team . We may contact the local authority to enable us to develop a full response to your enquiry.

Scotland
Complaints about voting or polling station issues people have experienced are the responsibility of the relevant local authority so you should contact them directly and ask to speak with a member of their elections team.

Complaints about electoral registration are the responsibility of the relevant Electoral Registration Officer. You can find their contact details here.

You can still speak to us for advice about your complaint by contacting your local Commission team . We may contact the local authority to enable us to develop a full response to your enquiry.

Northern Ireland
Complaints about electoral registration, voting or polling station issues that people have experienced are the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland.  To make a complaint you should contact the Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland on 0800 4230 712 or Email: info@eoni.org.uk.

You can still speak to us for advice about your complaint by contacting our Belfast office .  We may contact the Chief Electoral Officer to enable us to develop a full response to your enquiry.

  • Complaints about decisions made as part of our statutory regulation of political parties or election finance
Complaints about decisions made as part of our statutory regulation of political parties or election finance

Decisions made as part of our statutory duties (for example enforcement casework, and registration of party names, descriptions and emblems) are not covered by our complaints procedure, and we will advise anyone affected of any statutory or discretionary rights of appeal. Depending on the nature of the matter there may be further rights of challenge by way of statutory appeals or judicial review.

Complaints about administrative processes, such as a failure to gather or properly consider certain information or bias in arriving at a decision, may be dealt with under the complaints procedure. You would need to be explicit about the nature of your complaint, providing evidence where possible, rather than simply making an assertion based on disagreement with the outcome of an investigation.

Where there is a right of appeal, and a matter appears to involve both a decision and complaints about service which would usually be dealt with under the complaints procedure, these will generally be addressed in the response to the appeal. However, this will be considered on a case by case basis, and the Deputy Chief Executive would have oversight of any complaint element in such cases, as an additional safeguard where a directorate is investigating itself.

If you want to complain about one of the following areas, follow the relevant link:

The Electoral Commission

This section provides details on how you can make a complaint about the behaviour or actions of the Electoral Commission or its staff.

  • How to make a complaint about the Electoral Commission

How to make a complaint about the Electoral Commission

We aim to give the best possible service to everyone we deal with. However, from time to time things do go wrong and people who complain have a right to expect those instances to be dealt with properly. Handling complaints well is important to us – it reassures people that their concern has been taken seriously, enables us to learn from anything we may have done wrong or could do better, and reinforces public trust and confidence in us as an organisation. When handling complaints, we do our best to:

  • get it right
  • be customer-focused
  • be open and accountable
  • act fairly and proportionately
  • seek continuous improvement

You can make a complaint in writing or by email using the details below. Ordinarily your complaint will be investigated and a response sent, usually signed by the Deputy Chief Executive. If you can’t contact us in writing, call on 020 7271 0604, textphone on 18001 7271 0500 or ask somebody to contact us on your behalf to request an alternative format.

Kairen Zonena
Secretary to the Commission Board
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ

Email: complaints@electoralcommission.org.uk

If you feel that your complaint should be investigated in confidence, you need to make this clear when making your initial complaint. We aim to respond to all complaints within 20 working days. If for any reason we can't we will let you know.

Non-complaint issues will be referred straight to colleagues in our public information team who will respond to you direct.

  • What if you are not satisfied with the response?

What if you are not satisfied with the response?

You may ask for your complaint to go to the next stage, which is a review by our Chief Executive.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this review, you can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (or the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman for complaints on our work relating to Scottish local government elections). However, the Parliamentary Ombudsman will normally only consider complaints which are referred by a Member of Parliament, so you will need to contact your MP. You should bear in mind that the Ombudsman will normally expect you to have gone through our complaints procedure first.

Contact details

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Millbank
London SW1P 4QP
Complaints helpline: 0345 015 4033
Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
4 Melville Street
Edinburgh 
EH3 7NS
Tel: 0800 377 7330
Website: http://www.spso.org.uk/

We will try as hard as possible to respond to complaints in a way which makes the complainant feel heard. If, however, it becomes clear that a complaint is repeated without substance, or is vexatious, we will tell the complainant that we can add nothing further and the matter is closed.

Still not sure?

If you are not sure where the best place to direct your complaint is, you can contact the Electoral Commission’s public information team. They will be able to take details of your complaint and obtain information from the relevant team at the Electoral Commission in order to respond to you.

You can email them on info@electoralcommission.org.uk or call 0333 103 1928.

If your complaint is related to a matter outside of the Electoral Commission’s remit, they will be able to direct you to the appropriate body where you should make your complaint.

Complaints