The Lobbying Act is a piece of legislation that seeks to regulate how Charities, NGOs and other non party campaign groups can conduct public campaign activities in the year before an election. The Act allows non party campaign groups to continue their campaigns but those that spend more than £20,000 on campaigns that could be seen to influence voters towards a particular party must register with the electoral commission.
Although the stated purpose of the legislation is to prevent individuals and organisations exerting undue influence on election results, the Act has come under heavy criticism from charities who say that it has had a “chilling effect” on their activities through excessive red tape and ambiguity.
Charities claim to have felt the effects of the Act at the announcement of the snap general election on 18 April 2017 when its provisions came into force. Days before the general election, over 50 charities signed a letter expressing their “deep concerns” about the restrictive effects of the Act which they said was causing important voices to be lost.
However, Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) warned that charities’ fears and misunderstandings over the Act were causing much greater harm than the Act itself. He advised Charities to remain apolitical but to continue speaking up on behalf of their beneficiaries.
For further advice on the how the Lobbying Act may affect your organisation please contact our Charity & Not for profit department.
For further information on The Lobbying Act or any other Charity matter, please contact the office directly on 020 3490 1475