Overview of what we do in referendums

For a referendum to take place in the UK, the UK Parliament has to pass legislation about it.

We start work on a referendum when the UK Parliament has passed this legislation, and we know what our role in the referendum is.

Our role in referendums is different to our role in elections. Although we don’t run elections, we do run national referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) , or have other responsibilities, depending on the legislation.

Our Chair or someone our Chair appoints, is the Chief Counting Officer for PPERA referendums. The Chief Counting Officer is responsible for the conduct of the poll, can issue directions to Counting Officers, and also certifies and announces the results of the referendum.

Last updated: 15 July 2019
Next review: 30 May 2020