The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Guidance for campaigners in referendums

We regulate individuals and organisations that campaign at referendums and publish guidance that is specific to each referendum as the rules can be different for each one.

Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU

We register campaigners in a referendum and provide advice and guidance on the rules on spending and donations that campaigners must follow. You can read our introductory guidance on referendums here.

You can find out more about the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU here.

Once the legislation is passed, we will publish a full suite of guidance for campaigners. We will be publishing a series of updates to keep you informed before we publish our guidance.

Regular updates for referendum campaigners

Update for referendum campaigners No.3 – 4 November 2015

  • 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

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

Update for referendum campaigners No.1 – 16 July 2015

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

Scottish independence referendum guidance

This guidance is for the Referendum on Independence for Scotland only.


Overview of referendum spending

This part covers:

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

Overview of referendum spending (PDF)

Situations & procedures

Pre poll reporting for referendum campaigners

This part covers:

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

Pre-poll reporting for referendum campaigners (PDF)

Situations & procedures

The designation process

This part covers:

  • Introduction to lead campaigners
  • How lead campaigners are designated
  • The application period
  • The designation period
  • The final campaign period

Situations and procedures: The designation process (PDF)

Situations & procedures

The independence for Scotland Referendum 2014

This part covers:

  • An introduction to referendums
  • The referendum question
  • The referendum period
  • Spending limits
  • Referendum timetable

The referendum on independence for Scotland 2014 (PDF)

Party or campaigner