Code of Conduct for Campaigners at Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru, Scottish council and Welsh local elections

Electoral registration, postal voting, proxy voting and polling stations

Campaigners are an essential element of a healthy democracy, and their right to put their arguments to voters should be supported and protected. It is equally important, however, to ensure that the activities of campaigners do not bring into question the integrity of the electoral process. 

This Code provides a guide for campaigners, electoral administrators and police forces to what is, and is not, considered acceptable behaviour at polling stations and in the community during the lead-up to polling day. 

As a guiding principle, if there is any doubt about a particular activity, campaigners should ask themselves “What would a reasonable observer think?” 

More detailed guidance about electoral offences can be found in the guidance for candidates and agents, which is available at:

The Code has been sent to all registered political parties in Great Britain, and Returning Officers will draw it to the attention of all candidates and parties contesting relevant elections. 

Some Returning Officers may identify the need to develop and seek agreement to specific local provisions which supplement the terms of this Code, in order to address identified local risks. Returning Officers must consult with local campaigners and the relevant national Nominating Officers as well as police forces to secure appropriate local agreement to such provisions, and should ensure that they are communicated and well-understood by campaigners locally.

Scope of this code

This code covers all those actively involved in campaigning at:

  • Elections to the Scottish Parliament

  • Scottish council elections

  • Referendums held under Scottish Parliament legislation

  • Elections to Senedd Cymru 

  • Welsh local elections

  • Referendums held under Senedd Cymru legislation

Other elections and referendums in Great Britain

This code does NOT apply to any other polls. The code of conduct for campaigners for other types of elections and referendums in Great Britain can be found here and covers:

  • Elections to the UK Parliament (in England, Scotland and Wales)
  • UK parliamentary by-elections
  • Local elections in England
  • Local referendums in England
  • Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections and Police Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) elections in England and Wales

Meaning of the term "campaigner"

All references to campaigners in this code include: 

  • Candidates standing at an election, their agents and their staff and supporters 
  • Political party officers, members and supporters campaigning at an election 
  • Other people and organisations campaigning for or against a candidate, a group of candidates or a party at an election 
  • People and organisations campaigning for or against a particular outcome at a referendum 

Compliance with this code

Any concerns that this code has been breached should be raised first with the candidate, political party or campaigner in question. 

Any further concerns should be drawn to the attention of the Electoral Commission. The Commission will raise them with the relevant party or campaigner if appropriate, and will agree appropriate actions to remedy or prevent a reoccurrence of any breach.