Guidance

We regulate the finances of members associations and unincorporated associations making political contributions of more than £25,000 during a calendar year.

Members associations and registered unincorporated associations must follow certain rules set out in legislation.  Our guidance is here to help you comply with the rules.  You do not have to follow this guidance, but if you do, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Members associations

A members association is not a political party but it is wholly or mainly made up of members of a political party.

Members associations must report donations and loans as they receive them, and they are responsible for checking the permissibility of the donations and loans they receive.

Forms and guidance

There are different forms and guidance for regulated donees in Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

Unincorporated associations

Unincorporated associations must register with us when they make political contributions of more than £25,000 in a calendar year. Political contributions include donations and loans made to political parties, organisations that campaign in elections, and individuals in elective office like MPs or members of devolved legislatures.

As well as registering with us, you must tell us about the reportable gifts received by your association in:

  • the calendar year before you made the contribution
  • the calendar year of the contribution and
  • the calendar year following the contribution

This information is published on the register of unincorporated associations and the register of recordable gifts to unincorporated associations.

Reportable gifts include:

  • a single gift of more than £7,500
  • two or more gifts given by the same person in the same calendar year which total more than £7,500. You need only count individual gifts worth more than £500 toward this total
  • any additional gifts given by source that you have already reported as having given a gift in that calendar year, if the gifts have a value of, or add up to, more than £1,500

Any unincorporated association that intends to make political contributions of more than £25,000 should keep records of all gifts they receive that are worth more than £500.

Unincorporated associations that are also members associations

Members associations that are also unincorporated associations must register with us if they make political contributions of over £25,000 during a calendar year.

You should continue to report donations as you receive them. You do not need to report gifts which are donations twice.

If you register with us you will also need to complete Form MA1 at the end of each calendar quarter until your reporting responsibility ends.

Forms and guidance

The forms you need are:

How we can help

As well as our guidance, we are happy to answer questions and give advice. We are here to help, so please get in touch.

  • England 0333 103 1928
    • pef@electoralcommission.org.uk 
  • Scotland 0333 103 1928
    • infoscotland@electoralcommission.org.uk 
  • Wales 0333 103 1929
    • infowales@electoralcommission.org.uk 
  • Northern Ireland 0333 103 1928
    • infonorthernireland@electoralcommission.org.uk