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Guidance for non-party campaigners

This guidance is 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.

The rules for non-party campaigners at the UK Parliamentary general election due to be held on 7 May 2015 have been changed by the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014. The new rules will come into force on 19 September 2014. You can find our guidance explaining how the new rules work below.

Our updates below provide more information on how the rules will apply to you. 

Latest updates

Regular updates for non-party campaigners

The regular updates below provide information about how the rules on campaigning for non-party campaigners are changing.

Click here to view regular updates for non-party campaigners

Update for non-party campaigners No.10 – 10 September 2014

  • guidance
  • campaign monitoring
  • PEF Online
  • forms
  • webinars

Update for non-party campaigners No.9 – 13 August 2014

  • our guidance and FAQs
  • webinars
  • flowcharts

Update for non-party campaigners No.8 – 14 July 2014

  • details of webinars to be held in July and August 2014

Update for non-party campaigners No.7 – 9 July 2014

  • our guidance

Update for non-party campaigners No.6 – 27 May 2014

  • joint campaigns

Update for non-party campaigners No.5 – 1 May 2014

  • managing spending
  • donations and permissibility checking

Update for non-party campaigners No.4 – 7 April 2014

  • information gathered through our roundtable events and online survey
  • launch of Frequently Asked Questions section on the website
  • our enforcement approach

Update for non-party campaigners No.3 – 17 March 2014

  • when you will need to register
  • who can register
  • when and how to register
  • a summary of the rules that apply to registered non-party campaigners

Update for non-party campaigners No. 2 - 26 February 2014

  • what activities will be regulated under the new rules
  • a summary of the current rules
  • where you can find more information
  • how to take part in the online survey

Update for non-party campaigners No. 1 - 3 February 2014

  • a summary of our role
  • a summary of the changes to the rules
  • where you can find more information 

Not sure if you're a non-party campaigner?

Click here to read more about non-party campaigners...

If you intend to spend more than £20,000 in England, or £10,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland campaigning at the:

  • UK Parliamentary general election
  • European Parliamentary elections
  • Scottish Parliamentary elections
  • Welsh Assembly elections
  • Northern Ireland Assembly elections

you must register with us as a recognised non-party. We regulate recognised non-parties.

Click here to read more about how to use the guidance documents

We provide guidance to help those we regulate to comply with the rules in PPERA. The guidance explains the rules and what campaigners need to do to comply with them.

Our guidance documents are written in a four stage structure and are categorised as introductions, overviews, situations and procedures and expert papers according to the level of detail included in each document. Our guidance is published in this way so that campaigners can use the document which is relevant to their needs.

If you are new to the rules, we recommend that you start with the introductory guidance. If you are familiar with the rules, you may prefer to read the overview and situations and procedures guidance documents.

Where there are distinct categories of activity, we have produced a single document, so that only campaigners engaging in that activity need to read it. We do not expect campaigners to need to read all of the guidance.

Our guidance is broken down by subject below.

Introduction

Non-party campaigning

This part covers:

  • an introduction to non-party campaigners
  • who regulates campaigns
  • when campaigns are regulated
  • when you must register as a non-party campaigner

Introduction to non-party campaigning (PDF)

Overview

UK Parliamentary general election 2015: non-party campaigners

This part covers:

  • electoral events in 2015
  • the regulated period
  • spending limits
  • reporting deadlines

UK Parliamentary general election 2015: non-party campaigners (PDF)

Overview

Non-party campaigns

This part covers:

  • introduction for non-party campaigners
  • types of non-party campaigns
  • who regulates campaigns
  • what's covered by the rules
  • the regulated period, spending limits and reporting requirements
  • when you must register with us

Overview of non-party campaigns (PDF)

Overview

Regulated non-party campaigning

This part covers:

  • an introduction to regulated campaign activity
  • the purpose test
  • the public test
  • what counts as regulated campaign activity
  • applying the purpose test to different types of campaigns

Overview of regulated non-party campaigning (PDF)

Overview

UK Parliamentary general election 2015: Targeted spending in support of a political party

This part covers:

  • what is targeted spending
  • authorised and unauthorised targeted spending
  • targeted spending limits
  • obtaining an authorisation to incur targeted spending
  • reporting targeted spending

UK Parliamentary general election 2015: Targeted spending in support of a political party (PDF)

Overview

Accounts for non-party campaigners

This part covers:

  • a summary of your responsibilities
  • keeping clear and accurate records
  • preparing your statement of accounts
  • sending us your statement of accounts

UK Parliamentary general election 2015: Overview of accounts for non-party campaigners (PDF)

Situations & procedures

Registering as a non-party campaigner

This part covers:

  • who can register as a non-party campaigner
  • who must register as a non-party campaigner
  • how to apply to register
  • what happens after you've registered

Registering as a non-party campaigner (PDF)

Situations & procedures

PEF Online: Getting started

This part covers:

  • an introduction to PEF Online
  • working with PEF Online
  • getting started if you are already registered
  • getting started if you are registering a new party or as a campaigner
  • managing your user accounts

PEF Online: Getting started (PDF)

Situations & procedures

UK Parliamentary general election: Pre-poll reporting for non-party campaigners

This part covers:

  • what is pre-poll reporting
  • pre-poll reporting timetable
  • which donations must be reported
  • reporting after the election

UK Parliamentary general election 2015: Pre-poll reporting for non-party campaigners (PDF)

Situations & procedures

Managing non-party spending

This part covers:

  • regulated campaign activities
  • notional spending
  • working with a party or candidate
  • working with other non-party campaigners
  • managing regulated campaign spending
  • splitting spending
  • allocating spending to different parts of the UK
  • allocating spending to different constituencies
  • recording regulated campaign spending
  • reporting after the election

Managing non-party campaign spending (PDF)

Party or campaigner