About this guidance
The guidance has been prepared by the Electoral Commission, and laid before Parliament, in accordance with section 54 of the Elections Act 2022.
It applies throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The purpose of this guidance is to:
- explain the operation of Part 6 of the Act, concerned with information that is to be included with digital material and how to comply with its requirements
- explain how the Electoral Commission and the police will undertake their enforcement functions where there is a breach or suspected breach of Part 6 of the Act.
Where the guidance says that something must be done, this means that it is a requirement in either primary or secondary legislation.
The guidance uses ‘you’ to mean both the promoter of the material, and anyone else on whose behalf it has been published. This is because it is the promoter and/or anyone on whose behalf material has been published who commit an offence under section 48 of the Elections Act 2022 if material is published contrary to Part 6 of the Act.
Key terms are explained throughout the guidance, and also provided in an alphabetical list at the end of the document.
The Electoral Commission and the police must have regard to this guidance when exercising their functions under Part 6 of the Act.
The Electoral Commission may propose revisions to this guidance from time to time in accordance with the Act or when directed to do so by the Secretary of State.
The examples used in this guidance relate to functionality on digital platforms as of May 2023. The general principles set out in the guidance continue to apply in the event that functionality changes, or new platforms emerge.
When certain campaign material is published, it must contain specific details to show who is responsible for publishing it.
These details are known as an ‘imprint’. The imprint helps to ensure there is transparency for voters about who is campaigning.
There are already UK-wide laws requiring imprints on printed election, referendum and recall petition material, and on digital election material used at Scottish devolved elections. For these laws, please see the Electoral Commission’s non-statutory guidance.
Under the Elections Act 2022, the law requires imprints on some kinds of electronic material. This guidance refers to electronic material as ‘digital material’. Examples of the types of digital material that need an imprint are explained in the guidance.
The digital imprint requirements do not apply to digital material published prior to the commencement of Part 6 of the Act. However if that material is republished once the Act has been commenced, the republished material will become subject to the requirements.