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

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Frequently asked questions for journalists

On this page you will find the answers to questions that journalists often ask, including how to find information on our Party Election Finance (PEF) Online database.

Information for journalists

Do you have any images I can use?

Yes. If you visit our Flickr page you will find images such as ballot boxes, members of staff and creative used to support our public awareness campaigns.

These images are protected by copyright. They are available free of charge but must be credited to the Electoral Commission.

Can I be put on your press release distribution list?

Please email the press team at press@electoralcommission.org.uk and we will place you on the list.

Finding information on our PEF online registers

How do I search for donations by a company or individual to a political party?

Find out how to search for donations from a particular donor...
  1. Visit our party and election finance online database
  2. On the left hand side click on ‘Basic donation search’.
  3. Under the ‘Entity name’ heading pull down the drop down menu. At the bottom of this list you will see a ‘select/deselect all box’. Untick this box and then select the correct party name.
  4. To search for donations from a particular individual or organisation you can type the name into the ‘Donor name’ field (Note: we report donor names as they are reported to us, so you may wish to try different options, i.e. ‘Joe Bloggs’, ‘Mr Joe Bloggs’ or ‘Mr J Bloggs’).
  5. The other fields on the search allow you to isolate donations by time or amount. 
  6. Click ‘go’ to generate the search results. 
  7. You can click on ‘EC reference’ in red text in the search results window to see further details about a donation.
  8. Clicking on the headings in the search results window will allow you to arrange the results in particular orders (i.e. ascending or descending value).
  9. Under the ‘Summary table’ section (above the search results window) you can use the drop down menu to find donation totals for a variety of options (e.g. type of donation or type of donor).
  10. At the bottom of the page you will see two buttons: ‘Export results to CSV file’ and ‘Export results to PDF file’. These can be used to generate downloadable Excel or PDF files of the search results.

How can I find a party's accounts?

Find out how to find a party's accounts...
  1. Visit our party and election finance online database
  2. On the left hand side click on ‘Statements of accounts’.
  3. Under the ‘Party name’ field pull down the drop down menu and select your chosen party name. To choose one, or multiple, parties untick ‘select/deselect all’ at the bottom of the drop down menu and tick next to your chosen parties. 
  4. Under the next field, ‘Reported by (accounting unit)’, you can select local parties.
  5. The next ‘SoA year’ field allows you to choose a particular accounting year, whereas the ‘SoA band’ field allows you to select accounts from parties who have income/expenditure of £250k or below or those that have income/expenditure of over £250k. ‘SoA type’ allows you choose ‘cash’ or ‘accruals.’
  6. The remaining fields on the page allow you to restrict your search to parties that have certain income or expenditure levels.
  7. Click ‘go’ to generate the results.
  8. You can click on ‘EC reference’ in red text in the search results window to see further details about the individual accounts. 
  9. At the bottom of the page you will see a ‘Download’ button. This allows you to download a PDF of a set of accounts.

How can I find out what a party spent during an election campaign?

Find out how to find out what a party spent on an election campaign...
  1. Visit our party and election finance online database
  2. On the left hand side click on ‘Campaign expenditure search’.
  3. Under the ‘Entity type’ field pull down the drop down menu and select your chosen organisation (e.g. political party). To choose one, or multiple, organisations untick ‘select/deselect all’ at the bottom of the drop down menu and tick next to your chosen organisations. 
  4. The next field ‘Election’ (to the right) allows you to choose a particular election, and the field underneath this, ‘Entity name’, allows you to pick a particular party or organisation. 
  5. All subsequent fields allow you to search by different types of spending (e.g. advertising or transport), by supplier, amounts of spending or region.
  6. Click ‘go’ to generate the results.  
  7. You can click on ‘EC reference’ in red text in the search results window to see further details.

How can I find out if a party is registered with you?

Find out how to find out if a party is registered with us...
  1. Visit our party and election finance online database
  2. On the left hand side click on ‘Registration search’.
  3. Under the ‘Entity type’ field pull down the drop down menu and select ‘political party’. 
  4. If you know which organisation’s record you wish to view you can select its name under the ‘Entity name’ field. 
  5. All other search fields allow you to restrict your search by particular officers, regions and registration dates. 
  6. Click ‘go’ to generate the results.  
  7. You can click on ‘EC reference’ in red text in the search results window to see further registration details.

Journalist