Enforcement – allegations and casework
We have a number of roles and duties under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), including a duty to regulate political funding and spending. Section 145 of PPERA says that we ‘must monitor, and take all reasonable steps to secure, compliance with’ various aspects of PPERA.
We investigate potential breaches of PPERA and impose sanctions, where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.
In enforcing the rules, we aim to:
- ensure that there is transparency about party and election finance
- ensure that the rules on party and election finance are followed
- eliminate any benefit those we regulate may obtain from failing to comply with the law
- bring any organisation or individuals failing to adhere with the law into compliance
- deter non compliance
Where it is necessary to take enforcement action we are:
- Proportionate – in taking only the action we need to in order to achieve our objectives
- Effective – in achieving our objectives
- Fair – to those involved
We are aware that many of those working in politics are volunteers and we take this into account in our work. Our enforcement work, including casework and sanctions, is guided by our enforcement policy.
What we do and don't regulate
How to make an allegation
Anyone can make an allegation to us about potential breaches of PPERA. Our enforcement policy explains: .
- how we deal with allegations, and some limitations on what we can consider
- how we gather information (including our conduct of interviews)
- our approach to disclosure of information about our casework
Before you contact us, please read the guidance above on what we do and do not regulate. It may save you time and effort in advising us about something we are not able to act on.
In general, to prevent frivolous or vexatious allegations:
- We will only consider allegations made in writing (including by email) – but if for any reason you are unable to make an allegation in writing, please contact us for assistance
- We will not consider anonymous allegations – but we can still take up a matter, and if, for instance, if you are a whistle-blower and need to remain anonymous for that reason, please contact us for assistance
- We will only consider allegations if they are supported by some evidence or identify credible sources of evidence - this is to prevent malicious or vexatious allegations receiving undue attention
- We will generally only consider allegations of offences that took place within the last three years – this is because of time limits for offences
You can write to us at:
Party and Election Finance
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
Or you can email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their email addresses are:
We publish information about recently closed cases on the third Tuesday of each month, including the potential breach we considered, our finding, and any action taken.
We have also published a number of more detailed case summaries for particular cases:
- Case summary of Conservative and Unionist Party 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election campaign spending return case
- Case summary of Liberal Democrats 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election campaign spend return case
- Case summary of Labour Party 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election campaign spending return case
- Case summary of 5th Avenue Partners case
- Case summary of Bearwood Corporate Services case
- Case summary of Chris Huhne case
- Case summary of Zac Goldsmith case
The 5th Avenue Partners Limited case was the subject of an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). You can read their report, and our views and response below.
We revised our enforcement policy on 5 April 2016. Between 1 December 2010 and 5 April 2016 the previous version of the policy was in force.
We have a range of flexible civil sanctions we can impose for most breaches of PPERA, if we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the rules have been broken. Our enforcement policy sets out the way we decide whether to impose a sanction and, if so, which sanction(s) to impose.
We will only use sanctions in cases where we need to in order to achieve our enforcement objectives.
Wherever possible we try to achieve our objectives by other methods, such as providing advice and guidance.
Legislation and case law underpinning our enforcement work
- Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA)
- Electoral Administration Act 2006 (EAA)
- Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 (PPE Act)
- Representation of the People Act 1983 (RPA 1983)
There has also been one supreme court decision relating to the legislation we regulate. You can read the full decision or a summary below.