On this page you will find guidance and information for individuals and organisations that campaign in the run up to elections but do not stand as political parties or candidates.
We call these individuals and organisations non-party campaigners. In electoral law they are called third parties.
There are rules non-party campaigners must follow on campaign spending, donations and reporting. We regulate those rules.
In the run-up to certain elections, there is a set time when the rules on spending and donations apply. We call this time the ‘regulated period’. The rules will differ depending on which election is being held.
Do I need to register?
Are you holding a hustings?
A hustings is a meeting where election candidates or parties debate policies and answer questions from the audience. Hustings provide voters with an opportunity to hear the views of candidates or parties.
Hustings can be ‘selective’ or ‘non-selective’.
A non-selective hustings is a hustings that would not reasonably be regarded as intended to influence voters to vote for or against political parties or categories of candidates, including political parties or categories of candidates who support or oppose particular policies or issues. Any spending on a non-selective hustings will not count towards your spending limit.
A selective hustings is where you invite some candidates or parties to your hustings and do not have impartial reasons for doing excluding other parties or candidates, and the public are invited to attend the hustings. Spending on a selective hustings is regulated campaign activity.
In our view, a hustings will be non-selective if:
- the organiser of a local hustings has invited all the candidates known to be standing in the constituency
- the organiser of a national hustings has invited all the parties campaigning in the election
- you have impartial reasons for not inviting certain candidates or parties or
- the event will only be open to members of the organisation holding the event and it is not made available to the public
You can choose whether your hustings is selective or non-selective. The difference between a non-selective and selective hustings is that in some elections, spending on a selective hustings will count towards the non-party campaigner’s total spending limit for that specific election.
The spending limit includes all of your spending on regulated campaign activity during the regulated period. If your spending does not reach the relevant registration threshold then all you need to do is keep a total of your regulated campaign spending, including on your selective hustings.
To see whether there are registration thresholds and which thresholds apply to you, please visit the relevant election page: