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The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Guidance for political parties

We regulate the finances of political parties and maintain the registers of political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Political parties must follow certain rules set out in law.

Our guidance is here to help parties comply with the rules. You do not have to follow this guidance, but if you do, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Our guidance covers:

We also have election specific guidance on the spending rules at different types of election.

Looking for a form?

You can submit all forms online using PEF Online. Alternatively you can find a full list of our forms for political parties.

Latest updates

  • Guidance for the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union

    08-01-2016

    We have now published the first stage of our guidance for the EU referendum, which can be found here.

    It covers:

    • an overview of the rules
    • how to register as a campaigner
    • the designation process

    The next stage of guidance will explain the rules that will be commenced by the UK government in regulations. We are publishing a series of updates to keep you informed about the Referendum and when we will publish further guidance.

    Sign up to receive updates by email.


  • Deadline for applications ahead of the May 2016 polls

    07-01-2016

    In order to receive a decision from the Commission before the deadline for nominations for an election in May 2016, you need to have submitted your application by:

    • Monday 22 February 2016 for applications for the Great Britain register
    • Monday 7 March 2016 for applications for the Northern Ireland register

    If we receive a complete application, either to register a new political parties or to change existing party details, by these deadline dates, we guarantee to assess it and provide our decision before the close of nominations.

    We cannot guarantee that any received after this date will receive a decision in time for inclusion on a ballot paper for May 2016.

    A party needs to have its party name, description(s) and emblem(s) registered with us in order to use them on a ballot paper.


  • Party and Election Finance bulletin December 2015

    22-12-2015

    This bulletin looks forward to the May 2016 polls and the referendum on the UK membership of the European Union.

    Read the Party and Election Finance bulletin (PDF)

Key dates for 2016

As part of regulating party finance and maintaining transparency, parties must submit financial reports on donations, loans and expenditure by certain dates. Parties are also under a duty to confirm their details and renew their registration every year. Below you can find the deadline dates for the main reporting requirements for political parties in 2016.

5 January 2016 Start of regulated period for Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales & Northern Ireland Assembly elections
30 January 2016 Deadline for submitting Quarter 4 (1 October 2014–31 December 2015) donations and loans reports
30 April 2016 Deadline for submitting Quarter 1 (1 January 2016-31 March 2016) donations and loans reports

Deadline for statement of accounts (income and expenditure below £250k) for year end 31 December 2015
5 May 2016 Polling day – end of regulated period
6 June 2016 Deadline for receiving all invoices for campaign expenses
4 July 2016 Deadline for paying all invoices for campaign expenses
7 July 2016 Deadline for statement of accounts (income or expenditure over £250k) for year end 31 December 2015
30 July 2016 Deadline for submitting Quarter 2 (1 April 2016-30 June 2016) donations and loans report
5 August 2016 Deadline for submitting campaign expenditure report (expenditure £250k or below)
30 October 2016 Deadline for submitting Quarter 3 (1 July 2016-30 September 2016) donations and loans report
5 November 2016 Deadline for submitting campaign expenditure report (expenditure over £250k)
30 January 2017 Deadline for submitting Quarter 4 (1 October 2016-31 December 2016) donations and loans report

Party or campaigner