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Guidance for campaigners for the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union

There are rules campaigners must follow on campaign spending, donations and reporting in the run up to the referendum. We regulate those rules.

We register campaigners in a referendum and provide advice and guidance on the rules on spending and donations that campaigners must follow. Our guidance is here to help campaigners comply with the rules. You do not have to follow this guidance, but if you do, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Guidance for EU referendum campaigners

You can find our guidance for the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union (EU) on this page.

Our guidance is available below in a series of PDF documents, broken down by subject. Some information will also be available as a webcast.

How we are publishing our guidance

We are publishing our guidance for the EU referendum in stages. This is because the European Union Referendum Act 2015 does not set out all the rules. The UK government will commence the provisions in the Act at a later stage. They will also make regulations that set out further rules and dates. We do not yet know when the provisions will be commenced or the regulations made but we will publish guidance shortly after this happens.

The first stage of guidance explains the referendum rules set out in the European Referendum Act 2015, how to register and designation. This guidance is available below. It covers:

  • An overview of the rules
  • How to register as a campaigner
  • The designation process

The next stage of guidance will explain the rules that will be published by the UK government in regulations. We do not have a date for the regulations yet. It will cover:

  • Timetables and deadlines
  • Managing spending
  • Working together with other referendum campaigners
  • The rules on donations and loans
  • The requirements of pre-poll reporting
  • Public bodies and referendum material

Updates

We are publishing a series of updates to keep you informed about the referendum and when we will publish further guidance.

Sign up to receive updates by email

Regular updates for referendum campaigners

Update for referendum campaigns No.5 – 26 January 2016 (PDF)

  • status of the Act and the campaigner rules
  • guidance for campaigners
  • registering as a campaigner
  • pre-poll reporting
  • donations and loans

Update for referendum campaigners No.4 – 21 December 2015 (PDF)

  • status of the Act
  • how we are publishing our guidance
  • May 2016 elections: Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly elections
  • counting of votes at the EU referendum

Update for referendum campaigners No.3 – 4 November 2015 (PDF)

  • designated lead campaign groups
  • the Commission's role in designation
  • the designation application period
  • how the designation decision is made

Update for referendum campaigners No.2 – 7 October 2015 (PDF)

  • the status of the Bill
  • referendum question
  • registration
  • referendum spending

Update for referendum campaigners No.1 – 16 July 2015 (PDF)

  • a summary of our role at the referendum
  • basic information about the referendum
  • where you can find more information

Contact us

If you have any queries about our guidance please contact us on 0333 103 1928 or by email on pef@electoralcommission.org.uk.

For press and media queries please contact our press office: 020 7271 0704 or by email on press@electoralcommission.org.uk.

Overview

Spending for EU referendum campaigners – this document will be published at a later stage

This part covers:

  • What referendum spending is
  • Managing referendum spending
  • Recording referendum spending
  • Reporting referendum spending

Expert paper

Splitting campaign spending – this document will be published at a later stage

This part covers:

  • The basics and the guiding principle
  • Splitting spending in practice

Expert paper

Public bodies and EU referendum material – this document will be published at a later stage

This part covers:

  • The rules on what information certain public bodies can publish in the run-up to the referendum

Situations and Procedures

Timetable and reporting deadlines at the EU referendum – this document will be published at a later stage

This part covers:

  • The referendum question
  • Key roles at the referendum
  • The referendum period
  • Spending limits
  • Referendum agents
  • The referendum timetable

Overview

Overview of EU referendum do’s and don’t's – this document will be published at a later stage

This part covers:

  • The rules to be aware of while campaigning in the referendum

Situations and Procedures

Pre-poll reporting for EU referendum campaigners – this document will be published at a later stage

This part covers:

  • Pre-poll reporting timetable
  • What are donations and loans
  • What you need to report

Party or campaigner