Variable monetary penalties
A variable monetary penalty is a variable fine that is calculated according to the nature of the offence. It may be used on its own or in combination with a compliance notice and/or a restoration notice.
When determining the level of a variable monetary penalty we will take into account the factors set out in paragraph 7.4.The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums (Civil Sanctions) Order 2010 makes the maximum variable monetary penalty we can impose in any circumstances £20,000, but this is subject to other limitations that may apply in different parts of the UK.
A compliance notice sets out action that must be taken by a regulated organisation or individual who has breached the law, so that the breach does not continue or recur. A compliance notice may be used on its own, or in combination with a variable monetary penalty.
A restoration notice sets out action that must be taken by a regulated organisation or individual who has breached the law to restore the position, as far as possible, to what it would have been had no breach occurred. A restoration notice may be used on its own, in combination with a variable monetary penalty.
Where the Commission has reasonable grounds to suspect an offence may have occurred, a regulated organisation or individual may offer to enter into an enforcement undertaking. An enforcement undertaking involves the organisation or individual offering to take action to ensure that any non-compliance does not continue or recur, or that a position is restored as far is possible to what it would have been had the non-compliance not occurred.
We will consider carefully all reasonable offers. But we are not obliged to accept an enforcement undertaking, and we will not agree to any until we have a full understanding of the nature and severity of the non-compliance.
When considering whether to accept an enforcement undertaking we will take into account the following, non-exhaustive, list of factors:
- The seriousness of the offence or contravention
- Whether the matter was voluntarily reported
- Whether there was any dishonesty, deception or misrepresentation in the offence or contravention
- The cost of a full investigation
- The need to deter non-compliance
- Any advice given to the regulated organisation or individual on the relevant statutory requirements
- The compliance history of the regulated organisation or individual, including whether enforcement undertakings have been given in the past
- The likelihood of the proposed enforcement undertakings to prevent further offences or contraventions
- The likelihood of the proposed enforcement undertakings to restore the position of those involved to what it would have been had the offence or contravention not taken place
- The level of insight shown by the regulated organisation or individual as to why the offence or contravention occurred
- Whether any apology or contrition has been expressed for the offence or contravention
Where enforcement undertakings are agreed but not carried out, we may impose a penalty or consider prosecution in respect of the original offence and/or contravention. Depending on the reasons for the failure to carry out the enforcement undertakings, this may be an aggravating factor in any decision as to the level of a penalty.