On this page you can find out about the Scottish independence referendum.
If you are looking for guidance for campaigners at the referendum, please visit our guidance for campaigners at referendums page.
We have published the spending returns for registered campaigners at the Scottish Independence Referendum that spent £250,000 and under in the referendum period.
Leave to pay
Registered referendum campaigners had to ensure that all invoices for referendum expenses had been sent by the supplier within 30 days of the poll; and paid within 60 days of the poll.
It is an offence for the campaigner to pay an invoice after these deadlines unless they have applied for and been granted ‘leave to pay’ by the Commission. We will grant leave to pay if, on the facts of the case as set out by the campaigner, we believe they had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing the deadline.
We have received one leave to pay application to date from a campaigner spending under £250,000 on campaigning at the referendum. The summary details are:
Campaigner Invoice value Date of application Outcome To be paid by Business for Scotland Ltd £4,359.60 24/11/2014 Granted 11 December
The Scottish independence referendum was well run, with high levels of voter satisfaction in the voting process.
Our report identifies important lessons from Scotland about how to run future referendums successfully, including the expected referendum on further devolution in Wales and a possible referendum on UK membership of the European Union.
Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013
The Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 provided for a referendum on Scottish independence to take place and set out the detailed rules for the conduct of the referendum.
Memorandum of understanding with the Chief Counting Officer
We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chief Counting Officer (CCO) for the referendum.
The memorandum outlined how we and the CCO dealt with areas where our responsibilities met to ensure that the referendum was run efficiently, effectively and in the best interests of the voters and campaigners.
Our advice on the referendum question and spending limits
On 30 January 2013, we published our views on the Scottish Government's proposed independence referendum question. We also set out our advice on what campaign spending limits at the referendum should be.
Our advice on the proposed referendum question
We recommended that the referendum question be amended to "Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No"
The question we were asked to assess was: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"
You can read our full report and find out more below:
- Full report of our views on the referendum question (PDF)
- Report on our research with voters which informed our views on the question (PDF)
- Read our guidelines for assessing referendum questions (PDF)
- Our approach to referendum questions (PDF)
Our advice on campaign spending limits for the referendum
We set our detailed advice to the Scottish Government on the spending limits for campaigners at the referendum. You can read our full report below:
You can view minutes from discussions about the independence referendum at Board meetings held on 16 and 24 January 2013. Various Board papers that were prepared for discussion at those meetings are also available.
Our views on the referendum on independence for Scotland
Below you can find statements and briefings we have issued since UK Government's announcement on the Scottish referendum in January 2012. These include our views on legislation, responses to consultations and press statements.
Below you can find briefings outlining our views on amendments at different stages throughout the progress of the Referendum Bill.
Our response to Scottish Government proposals for a Referendum Franchise (Scotland) Bill - January 2013
On 7 December 2012 the Scottish Government invited us to give comments on their policy proposal and initial draft bill for extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds at the referendum.
Progress towards the referendum - September 2013
With less than a year to go until polling day, we published a report on progress being made with preparations for the referendum.
We found that preparations are on track to deliver a well-run poll for voters.
Update on public awareness activity - September 2013
We have issued an update to the briefing we published in June 2013, providing more on what we will be doing to encourage 15-17 year olds to register at the annual canvass.
- Read our update on our public awareness activity
- Read our June 2013 briefing note on our approach to public awareness at the referendum (PDF)
Briefing on political literacy and the Scottish Referendum - June 2013
This briefing provides information on sources of information and guidance for anyone interested in developing young people's political literacy around the referendum on independence for Scotland.
Referendum agreement - October 2012
We issued a statement in response to the referendum agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK Government.
Statement on Scottish referendum question assessment - July 2012
Responding to a proposal from the three main opposition parties in Scotland that the Electoral Commission should assess a question submitted to it by a panel of experts we issued the following statement:
Statement on Scottish Government's referendum announcement - May 2012
On Friday 11 May, the Scottish Government put out a press release on the Commission’s role at the Scottish referendum following its consultation on the proposed referendum.
Our response to the UK Government's announcement on the Scottish referendum - January 2012
We responded to the UK Government's announcement on the Scottish referendum with the following statement:
Note to Scottish Affairs Committee - July 2012
At a recent evidence session the Scottish Affairs Committee invited our views on the issues that campaigners would need to consider if they wish to set up voluntary arrangements for disclosing information about funding and/or spending before the start of the referendum period.
Response to Scottish and UK Government’s consultations on the Scottish referendum - March 2012
We published a single response to the consultation papers on a Scottish referendum from the UK Government (Scotland’s constitutional future) and the Scottish Government (Your Scotland, Your Referendum).
Our response to the Scottish Government launching their consultation on the Scottish referendum - January 2012
On 25 January the Scottish Government launched their consultation on the Scottish referendum (Your Scotland, Your Referendum). Read our response below: