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The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Enforcement – allegations and casework

We have a number of roles and duties under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), including a duty to regulate political funding and spending. Section 145 of PPERA says that we ‘must monitor, and take all reasonable steps to secure, compliance with’ various aspects of PPERA.

We investigate potential breaches of PPERA and impose sanctions, where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

Enforcement objectives

In enforcing the rules, we aim to:

  • ensure that there is transparency about party and election finance
  • ensure that the rules on party and election finance are followed
  • eliminate any benefit those we regulate may obtain from failing to comply with the law
  • bring any organisation or individuals failing to adhere with the law into compliance
  • deter non compliance

Where it is necessary to take enforcement action we are:

  • Proportionate – in taking only the action we need to in order to achieve our objectives
  • Effective – in achieving our objectives
  • Fair – to those involved

We are aware that many of those working in politics are volunteers and we take this into account in our work. Our enforcement work, including casework and sanctions, is guided by our enforcement policy.

What we do and don't regulate

Find out more on our what we do and don't regulate web page >

How to make an allegation

Anyone can make an allegation to us about potential breaches of PPERA. Our enforcement policy explains: .

  • how we deal with allegations, and some limitations on what we can consider
  • how we gather information (including our conduct of interviews)
  • our approach to disclosure of information about our casework

Find out more about making an allegation

Before you contact us, please read the guidance above on what we do and do not regulate. It may save you time and effort in advising us about something we are not able to act on.

In general, to prevent frivolous or vexatious allegations:

  • We will only consider allegations made in writing (including by email) – but if for any reason you are unable to make an allegation in writing, please contact us for assistance
  • We will not consider anonymous allegations – but we can still take up a matter, and if, for instance, if you are a whistle-blower and need to remain anonymous for that reason, please contact us for assistance
  • We will only consider allegations if they are supported by some evidence or identify credible sources of evidence - this is to prevent malicious or vexatious allegations receiving undue attention
  • We will generally only consider allegations of offences that took place within the last three years – this is because of time limits for offences

You can write to us at:

Party and Election Finance
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London
EC1Y 8YZ

Or you can email us: pef@electoralcommission.org.uk

We also have offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their email addresses are:

infoscotland@electoralcommission.org.uk

infowales@electoralcommission.org.uk

infonorthernireland@electoralcommission.org.uk

Closed cases

We publish information about recently closed cases on the third Tuesday of each month, including the potential breach we considered, our finding, and any action taken.

We have also published a number of more detailed case summaries for particular cases:

The 5th Avenue Partners Limited case was the subject of an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). You can read their report, and our views and response below.

We revised our enforcement policy on 5 April 2016. Between 1 December 2010 and 5 April 2016 the previous version of the policy was in force.

Sanctions

We have a range of flexible civil sanctions we can impose for most breaches of PPERA, if we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the rules have been broken. Our enforcement policy sets out the way we decide whether to impose a sanction and, if so, which sanction(s) to impose.

We will only use sanctions in cases where we need to in order to achieve our enforcement objectives.

Wherever possible we try to achieve our objectives by other methods, such as providing advice and guidance.

Legislation and case law underpinning our enforcement work

There has also been one supreme court decision relating to the legislation we regulate. You can read the full decision or a summary below.

Roles and responsibilities