Campaigning during a general election

The Lobbying Act (2014), sets out the rules for how charities and other civil society organisations can campaign in the lead up to national elections. Bond encourages  our members to familiarise themselves with the rules and most importantly, to carry on campaigning.

Campaigning is a normal and legitimate part of what Bond members do, and it is vital that organisations continue to speak out during the electoral period.

Below you'll find some useful resources and background information, including template compliance documents.

Useful resources

FAQs answering some of the most common questions organisations might have.

Bond briefing paper designed to help organisations understand the basics of the act, whether you need to register or not and to suggest some good internal practice. Updated September 2019.

Bond presentation on the risks, rules and regulations around campaigning during elections.

NCVO template board paper to help your trustees decide and document your decision on registration (free for NCVO members, £6.98 for non-members). Published August 2014.

Quakers in Britain have provided a guide on how they recorded the information required by the Electoral Commission once they signed up as a non-party campaigner and a completed example spreadsheet they used to to do this. 

Bates Wells, the election law specialists, have produced a range of free resources including guidance notes, example board resolutions, risk matrices and other practical tools.

Electoral Commission's Guidance for "non-party campaigners" explains how the rules will work. You can also find specific guidance for the 2019 general election which has details of the regulated period, spending limits and reporting requirements as well as separate guidance on hustings.

The Campaign Collective has a guide to campaigning during a regulated period. Published January 2018.

ACEVO published a briefing on General Election campaigning during the last election.

Bindmans solicitors have written a blog, "Snapping point? Why the surprise General Election presents unprecedented regulatory challenges for charities" analysing the act.

For more information, or to raise any questions or concerns you may have, please email [email protected].

Civil society response to the act

Bond, and many of our members, were a part of a diverse grouping of more than 130 civil society organisations who worked tirelessly to challenge the poorly drafted bill as it was rushed through parliament in 2013.

While key changes to the bill were agreed following two authoritative reports by the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement, Bond remains concerned the legislation could weaken civil society's ability to campaign on the big issues facing our society and planet.

The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement will monitor the impact the act has on civil society. Please record and share any examples or case studies of impact your organisation has via email [email protected].