Guidance for Candidates and Agents at local government elections in England

How do you value a donation?

The value of a donation is the difference between the value of what you receive and the amount (if any) you pay for it.1  As with all types of donations, you must also ensure any donation you accept over £50 is from a permissible donor.2

If you receive something as a benefit in kind, free of charge or at a non-commercial discount of more than 10%, that you or someone else makes use of in your campaign (also known as notional spending), you must also report this as a donation if the value of what you have received is more than £50.3  The donation rules only apply to non-commercial discounts.4

You should read the section on notional spending before reading this section.

The guiding principle

The guiding principle is that, in all cases, you should make an honest and reasonable assessment of the value of the goods or services you are receiving.

If the exact or similar options of the item or services are available on the market, you should use the rates charged by other providers to guide you in making a valuation. For example, if the donor is a commercial provider, you should use the rates they charge other similar customers.

If there are no exact or similar options of the goods or services available on the market, you should base your assessment on the commercial value of a reasonable equivalent. If you are still not sure how to value a particular donation, please contact us for advice.

You should ensure you keep a record of assessments and valuations so that you can explain whether or not a donation has been made.

Examples

Example A

A printing company offers you a non-commercial discount of 50% on the production of leaflets for your campaign. The commercial value of the leaflets is £200. You verify that the donor is permissible and decide to accept the donation. The price you pay for the leaflets is £100.

The printer has made a donation of £100 to you: £200 (value of the goods) - £100 (price you pay) = a non-monetary donation of £100.

Example B

A website designer offers to build a website for your campaign for free. The commercial value of their services is £250. You verify that the donor is permissible and decide to accept the donation.

The website designer has made a donation of £250 to you: £250 (value of the services) - £0 (price you pay) = a non-monetary donation of £250.

Valuing a donation by sponsorship

Valuing a donation by sponsorship

If someone sponsors a publication or event on the candidate’s behalf, the value of the donation is the full amount that they pay.

You must not make any deduction for any benefit that they receive from the sponsorship. Please see our guidance on sponsorship for more information.

Valuing other types of donations

You can find more information on valuing office space and seconded staff in Valuing notional spending and Splitting spending.

Last updated: 7 December 2023