charity commission logoThe Charity Commission has issued updated guidance making the rules clear on what charities can and cannot do in terms of campaigning in the run up to the General Election.

Campaigning and political activity can be legitimate and valuable activities for charities to undertake. However, charities must comply with the law. During an election period, the need for impartiality and balance is intensified, and charities must take particular care when undertaking any activities in the political arena.

The Charity Commission uses the terms:

  • ‘political activity’ to refer to activity by a charity which is aimed at securing, or opposing, any change in the law or in the policy or decisions of central government, local authorities or other public bodies, whether in this country or abroad
  • ‘campaigning’ to refer to awareness-raising and efforts to educate or involve the public by mobilising their support on a particular issue, or to influence or change public attitudes

The guiding principle of charity law in terms of elections is that charities must be, and be seen to be, independent from party politics.

Charities must ensure that they are able both to retain the essential quality of independence and use their voice effectively at election times; but there are a number of ways in which a charity may be at risk of becoming embroiled in party politics, albeit unintentionally.

The Charity Commission has a range of excellent guidance available to help you ensure you comply with the law.

Click here to see Charity Commission guidance on campaigning in the run up to an Election

If you’re unsure of any activity you are undertaking over the next couple of months, get in touch with the SCVS Development Team, who will be happy to help [email protected]