Charities ‘not confident’ they understand rules set out in the lobbying act

An Electoral Commission survey finds that only 32 per cent of non-party campaigning organisations feel confident and nearly all say they want more information

Two-thirds of non-party campaigning organisations are not confident they understand new rules set out in the lobbying act, and the vast majority want further information, a survey carried out by the Electoral Commission has found.

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, which became law in January, tightens the regulation of political campaigning activities that charities and other bodies can carry out before UK elections.

More than 120 non-party campaigners, of which 64 per cent were charities, responded to an Electoral Commission survey, which closed on 14 March. Respondents were asked how they thought the new laws would affect their campaigning. A quarter said they had not previously had contact with the Electoral Commission, and 40 per cent said they were not sure if they had.

A total of 88 per cent of respondents said they were planning some campaigning activities before the 2015 general election. Email and website were the most popular channels – 71 per cent and 72 per cent respectively said they would use these channels for their activities.

The survey found that 32 per cent of respondents felt “quite confident” they understood the new rules, but 55 per cent said they were “not very confident” and 12 per cent were “not confident at all”.

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