This page contains information about:
- definition of regulated donees
- donations to regulated donees
- loans to regulated donees
- reporting by members of Parliament
What are regulated donees?
Regulated donees are:
- holders of relevant elective office
- members of registered political parties
- members associations
Regulated donees are controlled in terms of the donations they can accept and loans they can enter into in connection with their political activities.
The controls are set out in Schedule 7 (donations) and Schedule 7A (loans) to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). Changes to reporting and permissibility thresholds for donations and loans have been made by the Political Parties and Elections Act (PPEA) 2009.
Regulated donees may accept donations of any amount in connection with their political activities, but, as with donations to political parties, it must come from a permissible donor if it is above £500 in value.
When a regulated donee receives a donation in connection with their political activities, they have 30 days to decide whether to accept the donation. Donees cannot accept donations from unidentifiable sources.
If, within the 30 days, the regulated donee decides the donation is impermissible, they must return it. If the donee cannot return the donation directly (e.g. if the donor is unidentifiable) they must return the donation as far as it can be traced (e.g. to the bank from which an electronic transfer originated). If the donation cannot be traced at all, the donee must give the donation to us and we will transfer it to the Consolidated Fund.
Regulated donees must report all donations to us within 30 days of accepting them if the value of the donation is above certain thresholds. These are £7,500 for donations to members associations and £1,500 to holders of elective office and members of political parties.
Reportable donations include cash and non-cash donations, visits provided and sponsorship. Non-cash donations arise where a regulated donee gets goods or services free of charge or on non-commercial terms.
Regulated donees with questions about donations should consult our guidance for regulated donees.
We maintain a searchable register of donations to regulated donees.
Regulated donees associated with Northern Ireland political parties or holders of elective office in Northern Ireland are subject to the above donation controls with two important differences:
- Northern Ireland donees may receive donations from certain sources in the Republic of Ireland
- donations reported to us by regulated donees in Northern Ireland are kept confidentially and do not appear on a public register
The confidentiality of donations to regulated donees in Northern Ireland will last until 2010, however, this may be extended by the Secretary of State.
You can download our Donations: guidance for regulated donees in Northern Ireland (PDF) that explains the operation of donation controls.
Regulated donees have to comply with the law regarding permissibility of lenders and transparency of borrowing arrangements.
Loans taken out specifically for the purposes of the regulated donee’s political activities are regulated. Occasional use of another borrowing facility for political purposes (e.g. use of a pre-existing personal credit card) does not have to be reported.
The reporting thresholds and reporting periods are the same as for donations.
There is no requirement that loans taken out by regulated donees be on commercial terms and no cap on the amount that can be borrowed.
We maintain a register of loans. The register includes loans, credit facilities and connected transactions entered into by regulated donees in connection with their political activities. Connected transactions arise when someone (other than the regulated donee) offers security over an amount owed by a political party.
You can consult our guidance on loans for regulated donees here.
In Scotland, holders of elective office who are not members of political parties (i.e. independents) are not subject to the controls on loans. Members of political parties and members associations in Scotland are subject to the controls.
Controls on loans were introduced in Northern Ireland on 1 July 2008. Further information and guidance will be available shortly.
Reporting by Members of Parliament
On 16 June, the Secretary of State made an Order under the Electoral Administration Act 2006 which ended the requirement for MPs to report donations and loans to us. MPs still need to report donations and loans to the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests (RMFI). The order came into force on 1 July 2009 for all donations received on or after that date. We will still carry out compliance checks on these donations.
All other regulated donees as defined in Schedule 7 of PPERA are still required to report to us.
The latest edition of the Register of Members' Financial Interests can be found here.
The Register is published on a bi-monthly basis when Parliament is sitting.