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United Kingdom

In law
39
In practice
76

The United Kingdom has a strong framework in place to regulate political finance, and enforcement is equally strong. Direct public funding is provided to parties, and it appears to be distributed equitably. However, those funds cannot be used during campaigns. Indirect public funding, in the form of free access to broadcast media, is also provided to parties. In practice, that airtime is given out fairly and transparently. Parties are not permitted to independently purchase airtime or otherwise advertise on television during campaigns. Relevant legislation restricts few forms of contribution, but spending during campaigns is capped for both parties and independent candidates. Based on data from the 2010 elections, parties did not even approach the spending limits codified in law. Parties, by law, must report on their finances regularly, both inside and outside campaigns. Independent candidates must do so only after the campaign period, while regulated donees (defined as members of registered parties, including members of parliament and candidates) have to regularly report on contributions received every month. In practice, most parties, candidates, and donees comply with these requirements, and most submit detailed lists of their contributors, though some exceptions exist. The UK Electoral Commission regularly publishes submitted political finance information online in a searchable database. Third party actors are active in UK elections, and those that spend in excess of a certain amount on independent campaign activities are required to report on their political activities. This means that some, though not all, third party organizations are subject to regulations, and that some, though not all, data on their expenditures is publicly available. The Electoral Commission oversees political finance. Its commissioners are typically appointed on merit, and their independence is, by and large, guaranteed. The Commission carried out multiple investigations in the wake of the 2010 elections, and imposed administrative sanctions, most of which were complied with. In general, the enforcement of political finance in the UK has greatly improved since reforms instituted in 2009.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
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        NO
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        In the UK, there is no direct public funding intended to be used specifically for electoral campaigns, neither for political parties nor for individual candidates. However, the law and resolutions governing the sources of public funding do not explicitly ban the use of the public grants for electoral campaign purposes. That said, Bob Posner of the Electoral Commission confirms that public grants may not be used for electoral campaigning. Indeed, the Commission closely audits parties to ensure that public monies are not used for campaign purposes.

        Direct public funding is allocated regularly to political parties in the UK in the form of (1) Policy Development Grant; (2) Short Money (House of Commons); and (3) Cranborne Money (House of Lords). This support is given on a regular basis for administrative purposes. The three types of public funding are given to qualifying political parties and not to individual candidates.

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 introduced a modest public grant to eligible political parties called the Development Policy Grant in order to help finance their policy research. This grant is given to political parties regularly and not specifically for electoral campaigns.

        Article 12 of the Act states: “a policy development grant” is a grant to a represented registered party to assist the party with the development of policies for inclusion in any manifesto...” Moreover, “a registered party is ‘represented’ if there are at least two Members of the House of Commons belonging to the party” who have taken the oath of allegiance provided by the Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866. While the intended use is to help parties develop policies, there is no explicit restriction in law on using this grant for electoral campaign purposes.

        Apart from the Policy Development Grant, two larger amounts of public grants are offered to opposition parties in the UK. These are offered regularly and not specifically for electoral campaigns and are based on House of Commons and House of Lords resolutions as opposed to law.

        The so-called ‘Short Money’ was introduced in 1975 and is made available to all opposition parties in the House of Commons that secured either two seats or one seat and more than 150,000 votes at the previous general election. Short Money is, according to the House of Commons resolution “financial assistance to assist an opposition party in carrying out its Parliamentary Business”. This scheme has three components (1) funding to assist an opposition party in carrying out its Parliamentary business; (2) funding for the opposition parties’ travel and associated expenses; and (3) funding for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office.

        A similar scheme, dating back to 1996, exists to support opposition parties in the House of Lords. This public financial support is called Cranborne Money. According to the House of Lords resolution, “Financial assistance shall be available to assist the Opposition, the second largest opposition party and the Convenor of the Cross-Bench Peers in carrying out their Parliamentary business.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 12, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Short Money, House of Commons Library, Standard note: SN01663, 2014. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN01663/short-money

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, December 2014.

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        NO
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        None of the three types of direct public funding to political parties in the UK may be used for campaigning.

        In terms of the Policy Development Grant, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 12 gives the UK Electoral Commission the responsibility to “submit recommendations to the Secretary of State for the terms of a scheme for the making by the Commission of policy development grants”. It also sets the maximum financial amount of the grant to be £2 million (USD 3.4 million).

        This Policy Development Grant of £2 million (USD 3.4 million) is distributed via a formula drawn up by the Electoral Commission and approved by Parliament. The formula is stated on the UK Electoral Commission’s website. According to the formula, the first £1 million (USD 1.7 million) shall be divided equally amongst the seven eligible parties. The second £1 million (USD 1.7 million) is divided based on the proportion of the registered electorate where the party contest elections (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), and weighted share of the vote received by each party in each part of the UK.

        Short Money given to the opposition in the House of Commons is calculated based on the following criteria: general funding for opposition parties- a set amount is given for each seat won at the last election plus for every 200 votes gained by the party; travel expenses- apportioned between each of the opposition parties in accordance to seat won and votes gained at the last election; and Leader of the Opposition’s Office- a set amount of money is available for the running of the Leader of the Opposition’s office.

        The Cranborne Money given to the opposition in the House of Lords pays for, among other things, the salaries of the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Chief Whip. The House of Lords resolution governing the allocation of Cranborne Money does not contain an allocation formula.

        In summary, the basic eligibility criteria for these grants are clear enough but the mechanism by which the grants are allocated makes it generally difficult to know precisely how much a political party is due in public support. In any case, as confirmed by Bob Posner of the Electoral Commission, public funds cannot be used by parties in electoral campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 12, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Short Money, House of Commons Library, Standard note: SN01663, 2014. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN01663/short-money

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, December 2014.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Not applicable. In the UK, public money cannot be used for election campaign purposes.

        The last general election in the UK was held on 6 May 2010. Data on allocation of public funds is published according to fiscal years. Since the fiscal year 2009/2010 ended on April 5, 2010, using this data shows approximately the amount of public funding parties received in the year leading up to the 2010 election.

        In terms of the Policy Development Grant, the three largest parties (the Conservative Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democratic Party) should, according to the allocation formula, have received £456,612 (USD 755,590) each in fiscal year 2009/2010. While the Labour Party and Liberal Democratic Party received this exact amount of money, the Conservative Party received only £156,826 (USD 259,511), according to figures on yearly allocation and disbursement of the Policy Development Grant published by the Electoral Commission.

        With regard to Short Money from the House of Commons to opposition parties, the main opposition party in the 2010 election was the Conservative Party and it received £4,757,906 (USD 7,873,263) in Short Money. The Liberal Democratic Party had fewer seats in the House of Commons and received £1,749,385 (USD 2,894,838) in fiscal year 2009/2010.

        Lastly, concerning Cranborne Money from the House of Lords to opposition parties, the Conservative Party received £474,927 (USD 785,897) in fiscal year 2009/2010 and the Liberal Democratic Party, which had fewer seats in the House of Lords, received £237,136 (USD 392,406).

        A media search revealed no attention to these figures, i.e. no party appears to have made public complains about shortcomings in public funding, and no journalist appears to have picked up on possible irregularities. Moreover, interviewee Bobby Friedman who is an investigative journalist and author had found no irregularities in terms of allocation of public funding to parties in connection to the 2010 election during his research on political finance in the UK for the book Democracy Ltd.

        In summary, data on allocated public funding to political parties in the run-up to the 2010 election shows that there are some exceptions to those eligibility criteria for public funding that do exist, although the eligibility criteria are themselves not written in a way that makes it absolutely clear how much public money each party is due. In any case, public money cannot be used in electoral campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        Democracy Ltd.: How Money and Donations have Corrupted British Politics, by Bobby Friedman, 2013, One World Publications, London.

        Website of the UK Electoral Commission, Public funding for parties. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/political-parties-campaigning-and-donations/public-funding-for-parties

        The UK Electoral Commission’s online searchable database on political finance, visited on July 27, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/search/searchintro.aspx

        Short Money, Standard Note: SN/PC/01663, House of Commons Library, 2014. www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01663.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Not applicable. Public money cannot be used in election campaigns in the UK.

        However, in terms of disbursement of public funding to political parties, the PEF Online is the Electoral Commission’s database where all information on donations is available for free to the public. These include public funding of parties.

        In order to find out to what extent the three sources of public funding to political parties (Policy Development Grant, Short Money and Cranborne Money) were reported on the PEF Online within a month of disbursement, a comparison was undertaken of the date the public fund was accepted by the party and the date the party reported it to the Electoral Commission on the PEF Online database. All public funds in the period between January 1, 2010 and August 1, 2014 were looked at. The result of this calculation was as follows: • Out of 43 separate disbursements of Policy Development Grants, 11% were reported on the PEF Online database within a month of the party having accepted them, 42 % within two months, and 47% more than two months after the party had accepted them. • For the 150 separate disbursements of Short Money, 10% was reported within a month, 35% within two months, and 55% more than two months after the party had accepted them. • Lastly, for the 19 separate disbursements of Cranborne Money, 42% was reported within a month of the party having accepted them; 26% within two months, and 32% more than two months after the party had accepted them.

        As this calculation shows, there was some delay in reporting some of the disbursements of public funds, especially of Short money. However, in terms of Short Money and Cranborne Money, the budgeted allocation for the current financial year is also made publicly available online by the House of Commons Library before these funds are disbursed.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        The UK Electoral Commission’s online searchable database on political finance, visited on August 3, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/search/searchintro.aspx

        Short Money, Standard Note: SN/PC/01663, House of Commons Library, 2014. www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01663.pdf

        Short Money, House of Commons Library, Standard note: SN/PC/01663, 2008. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/981305/Short-Money-Commons-Library-Note

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
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        NO
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        Neither of the two main laws regulating political finance in the UK (the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and the Representation of the People Act 1983) contain any language concerning the restriction or ban of use of state resources in favour of or against political parties or individual candidates.

        Two other laws, however, make some non-monetary state support available to parties and candidates standing in elections. Parties, for example are guaranteed free airtime to broadcast their party political broadcasts according to the Communications Act 2003 (Section 333). Candidates are entitled to send, free of any charge, postal communication relating to their election campaigns (Representation of the People Act 1983 (Article 91).

        The General Election Guidance 2010 provided rules concerning the conduct of civil servants during the UK’s most recent general election. In its preface it provides the basic principle for civil servants and ministers, which apply both during election times and non-election periods. According to this principle, civil servants are not to “undertake any activity which could call into question their political impartiality or could give rise to the criticism that public resources are being used for Party political purposes”. And, “ministers must not use Government resources for party political purposes and must uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service.” While the rest of the election guidance is detailed in terms of rules relating to the behaviour of civil servants during election times, the guidance does not provide any more guidance in relation to the ban on using state resources for political ends. As such, this guidance is insufficient to be considered a ban on the use of state resources in favour or against political parties and individual candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Part IV, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Part 2, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Part II, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

        Communications Act 2003, Sections 321 and 333, 2003. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/pdfs/ukpga20030021en.ptdf

        General Election Guidance 2010, Cabinet Office, 2010. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/354815/2010electionguidance.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        In the UK there are direct funding for political parties in the form of a Policy Development Grant for which are received by seven eligible political parties, as well as Short Money and Cranborne Money which are received by opposition parties in the House of Commons and House of Lords respectively. Such funds cannot be used in campaigns.

        According to Bobby Friedman who is the author of a recent book on political finance in the UK, there is no evidence that authorities use state resources in favour or against political parties or candidates. However, the design of state support brings with it some, perhaps, unintended consequences. To start with, Short Money gives a bit of an unfair advantage to the opposition. This was felt by the Liberal Democratic Party when they entered into coalition with the Conservative Party after the 2010 general election and lost their entitlement to Short Money. With that the party lost £1.75 million (USD 2.9 million) in state funding to support their opposition work which, in turn, prompted the dismissal of more than 20 staff at the party's headquarters, according to a news article by The Guardian newspaper.

        Bobby Friedman also points out that there is an in-built advantage for larger parties in terms of party political broadcasts and the entitlement to free postage since the larger parties will be able to reach out to more people than smaller parties through these entitlements.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        Liberal Democrats hit by £1.75m loss of opposition cash, by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, June 11, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/jun/11/liberal-democrats-party-funding-nick-clegg

        Why the Lib Dems' funding crisis could end the coalition early, by George Eaton, New Statesman, August 16, 2013. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/08/why-lib-dems-funding-crisis-could-end-coalition-early

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Eligible political parties in the UK have access to party political broadcasts free of charge. Other political advertising in broadcast media is prohibited in the UK through the Communications Act 2003 (Section 321(2)) which bans the broadcast of “an advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature” and “an advertisement which is directed towards a political end”.

        The free airtime offered to eligible political parties in the form of party political broadcasts are, in turn, guaranteed by law in the Communications Act 2003 (Section 333). Individual candidates are not eligible for party political broadcasts in the UK.

        Eligible parties are determined by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 37) which states that “a broadcaster shall not include in its broadcasting services any party political broadcast made on behalf of a party which is not a registered party”. However the mechanism for determining allocations of party political broadcasts is delegated to broadcasters. In other words, the law relating to the eligibility criteria of party political broadcasts is done by code.

        The Communications Act (section 333) from 2003 charges the communications industry’s regulator, OFCOM, with the duty of making rules with regards to allocation, length and frequency of party political broadcasts for commercial broadcasters with public service obligations, and national commercial radio. “The regulatory regime for every licensed public service channel, and the regulatory regime for every national radio service, includes— (a) conditions requiring the inclusion in that channel or service of party political broadcasts and of referendum campaign broadcasts; and (b) conditions requiring that licence holder to observe such rules with respect to party political broadcasts and referendum campaign broadcasts as may be made by OFCOM.” The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also required to broadcast party political broadcasts but rather than being regulated by OFCOM, it is regulated by the BBC Trust.

        In summary, party political broadcasts are offered for free by law to eligible political parties. Because the allocation of airtime is done by code, the eligibility criteria are not clearly defined in law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Communications Act 2003, Sections 321 and 333, 2003. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/pdfs/ukpga20030021en.ptdf

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 37, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

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        75
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Since the allocation criteria are not specified in law, the various broadcasters in the UK coordinate their allocation policies via the Broadcasters’ Liaison Group and the Electoral Commission so that each broadcaster offers the same number of party political broadcasts to the eligible political parties. The website of the Broadcasters’ Liaison Group publishes the allocation criteria for party political broadcasts. According to these criteria, political parties that stand candidates in at least one sixth of the constituencies of any of the nations (England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) will qualify for one party election broadcast in that nation.

        The British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) publishes its allocation criteria on its website and they are similar to the ones published by the Broadcasters’ Liaison Group. A registered political party will qualify for party political broadcasts if it holds more than one seat in the House of Commons (and/or at least one seat in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Parliaments respectively), and can demonstrate substantial levels of electoral support across a series of elections (in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively).

        In practice, according to information published by the House of Commons Library, the allocation is based heavily on convention, and the governing party and the main opposition party are usually allocated the same number of broadcasts, and no party is offered more than five broadcasts in total.

        The BBC has published data on the political election broadcasts it aired in connection to the last nation-wide general elections, which took place in 2010. The broadcasts that were aired during April and May 2010 are listed by political party. In total, political broadcasts from 20 political parties were aired by the BBC during this time. The largest political parties in the UK are the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party (although the size of the parties varies across the nations). They had the following airtime on the BBC: • Conservative Party- 5 election broadcasts in England, 4 in Scotland, 2 in Wales, and 0 in Northern Ireland; • Labour Party- 5 in England, 4 in Scotland, 3 in Wales, and 0 in Northern Ireland; • Liberal Democrats- 2 in England, 4 in Scotland, 3 in Wales, and 0 in Northern Ireland.

        No complaints of inequitable allocation of political broadcasts by the main parties can be found in news stories or other publicly available reports. Instead, media from the 2010 election time reported on controversies with regard to the far right party, the British National Party, which had two seats in the House of Commons and therefore was eligible for party political broadcasts. While complaints were made by the public and various interest groups, the BBC followed its eligibility criteria and aired one party election broadcast by that party in England, Scotland and Wales.

        According to Ric Bailey, Chief Advisor at the BBC and Chair of the Broadcasters Liaison Group, “an internal report from the time reports that the process was ‘largely trouble-free’ and that there were ‘no incidents of note’. To the best of my knowledge, there were no substantive complaints from political parties about the allocation of party election broadcasts in 2010. The lack of evidence (eg the Electoral Commission’s formal report on the 2010 election makes no reference at all to party election broadcasts, despite the fact that it has a legal obligation to express a view on the criteria) is an indication of the lack of controversy on this specific point. This is not the case in all elections, but for general elections the process has been well established and straightforward. That may not be the case in 2015, given the changed political circumstances of the UK since 2010.”

        In summary, the eligibility criteria of the broadcasters appear to have been consistently applied during the 2010 election, i.e. all parties with candidates in at least one sixth of the constituencies of any of the nations received airtime in that nation (note that Northern Ireland have main parties that are not the same as the UK-wide ones), and no parties were offered more than five broadcasts. However, the fact that the eligibility criteria are not more precise in terms of total number of broadcasts available to each party makes it difficult to know whether each party received its fair share of airtime.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        Dr Jacob Rowbottom, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, Oxford, July 23, 2014, phone.

        Ric Bailey, Chief Advisor at the BBC and Chair of the Broadcasters Liaison Group, August 18, 2014, email.

        BBC, BBC’s Criteria for the Allocation of PPBs http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/consult/ppb/ppb_criteria.pdf

        BBC, Party Election Broadcasts - General Election 2010 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/ukpolitics/election2010/partiesandissues/8593869.stm

        General election 2010: BBC faces protest over BNP broadcast, The Telegraph, April 26, 2010. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7634925/General-Election-2010-BBC-faces-protests-over-BNP-broadcast.html

        Party Political Broadcasts, House of Commons Library, Standard notes SN03354, 2013. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN03354/party-political-broadcasts

        Broadcasters’ Liaison Group, Qualification criteria- party election broadcasts. http://www.broadcastersliaisongroup.org.uk/criteria.html

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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    27
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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        9
        Score
        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Part IV, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Part 2, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Part II, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        10
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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        With regard to political parties, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 54) states that a donation received by a registered party must not be accepted by the party if “the party is (whether because the donation is given anonymously or by reason of any deception or concealment or otherwise) unable to ascertain the identity of that person.”

        Regulated donees (which are individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments) are also prohibited from accepting anonymous donations. According to Schedule 7 (6) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, donations received by a regulated donee must not be accepted by the donee if... the donee is (whether because the donation is given anonymously or by reason of any deception or concealment or otherwise) unable to ascertain the identity of that person”.

        Finally, individual candidates are prohibited from accepting anonymous donations. The Representation of the People Act 1983, Schedule 2A (which was amended by Schedule 16 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000) states that “a relevant donation received by a candidate or his election agent must not be accepted if the candidate or (as the case may be) his election agent is (whether because the donation is given anonymously or by reason of any deception or concealment or otherwise) unable to ascertain the identity of the person offering the donation.

        However, the ban on accepting donations from anonymous sources concerns only controlled donations. Controlled donations are donations to political parties over £500 (USD 829). For regulated donees this threshold is also £500 (USD 829), and for individual candidates, controlled donations are those surpassing £50 (USD 83). This means that small donations from anonymous sources can be accepted.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 54, Schedule 6 and Schedule 16, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Schedule 2A, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        11
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        MODERATE
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Political parties, regulated donees, and political candidates must all report in-kind donations over a certain value to the Electoral Commission.

        A donation means, according to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 50 and Schedule 7 (2)) and Representation of the People Act 1983, Schedule 2A (as amended by Schedule 16 (2) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000): • any gift to the party/donee/candidate of money or other property; • any sponsorship provided in relation to the party/donee/candidate; • any subscription or other fee paid for affiliation to, or membership of, the party; • any money spent (otherwise than by or on behalf of the party/donee/candidate) in paying any expenses incurred directly or indirectly by the party/donee/candidate; • any money lent to the party/donee/candidate otherwise than on commercial terms; • the provision otherwise than on commercial terms of any property, services or facilities for the use or benefit of the party/donee/candidate (including the services of any person).

        As indicated by this list, in-kind donations are part of the definition of donations for political parties, regulated donees, and political candidates.

        In terms of reporting donations (in-kind included), political parties must, according to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (articles 62 and 63, which were amended by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 20), report all donations above the value of £7,500 (USD 12,450) (or if the aggregate value of donations from the same source exceeds £7,500 (USD 12,450)) in quarterly donation reports, and weekly donation reports during general election periods. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 65) oblige political parties to deliver these donation reports to the Electoral Commission within a set time limit.

        Regulated donees (which are individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments) must report all donations (in-kind included) above the value of £1,500 (USD 2,490) if the donee is an individual, and £7,500 (USD 12,450) if the donee is a members association, to the Electoral Commission within 30 days of accepting the donation, according to Schedule 7 (10) (which was amended by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 20).

        Finally, individual candidates must report all donations above the value of £50 (USD 83) (in-kind included) to the Electoral Commission as part of their returns after the election, according to the Representation of the People Act 1983, Schedule 2A (as amended by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 schedule 16 (10)) and the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (article 145).

        In sum, only sum in-kind donations (those exceeding a certain threshold), must be reported.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 50, 62, 63, 65, 145, Schedules 7 and 16, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 20, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, article 145 and Schedule 2A, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        12
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        NO
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Political parties and regulated individuals but not individual candidates are required by law to report loans in excess of a certain threshold to the Electoral Commission. Parties and regulated donees have a legal responsibility to check that loans comply with the legislation and report certain loans to the regulator, the Electoral Commission.

        Loans can only be taken from 'permissible' sources. These include individuals on the Electoral Register (i.e. people eligible to vote in the UK), companies registeres in the UK, and trade unions in the UK.

        Political parties must keep records of the loan, including the details of the creditor and the conditions of the credit.

        Loans that are made on non-commercial terms to either political party, regulated donee or political candidate count as donations, which (over a certain value) must be reported to the Electoral Commission (see answer to indicator 11).

        Certain loans that do not count as donations must be reported by political parties. According to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Part IV, articles 71M, 71Q and 71S) (which were amended by the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (Article 61), political parties must prepare quarterly transaction reports including all regulated transactions over the value of £7,500 (USD 12,450). Moreover, the treasurer is requires to prepare a weekly transaction report during the general election period, also over the value of £7,500 (USD 12,450). These transaction reports must be delivered to the Electoral Commission within a certain time limit.

        Regulated individuals (which are individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments) must prepare a transaction report for each loan above the value of £1,500 (USD 2,490) if the regulated entity is an individual, and £7,500 (USD 12,450) if the regulated entity is a members association, to the Electoral Commission within 30 days of accepting the donation, according to Schedule 7A of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (as amended by the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (Article 99).

        Other, non-regulated, political candidates do not need to report loans.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 71M, 71Q, 71S, Schedules 7A, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Electoral Administration Act 2006, Article 61, 99, 2006. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/22/contents

        Guidance on Loans, Electoral Commission http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0015/102264/to-loans-rp.pdf

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
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        13
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        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        14
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        NO
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

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        15
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        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        According to the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Article 10), which amends the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 54), donations from foreign donors are not to be accepted by registered political parties.

        Foreign status is determined by “the individual’s liability to income tax for the current tax year (including eligibility to make any claim) falls to be determined (or would fall to be determined) on the basis that the individual is resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom in that year.

        There is no law banning contributions from foreign sources to individual candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 54, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 10, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

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        16
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        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        As of September 2014, limits have been introduced to third party actors campaign contributions and spending.

        Third party actors are subject to election campaign spending restrictions. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 has recently been amended by the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, which came into force in September 2014. According to the new regulations, during the regulated period the maximum amount a registered third party actor can spend on regulated campaign activity in a particular parliamentary constituency is £9,750 (USD 16,311). If a third party campaigner runs a campaign across the whole of the UK, the overall spending limit will be capped at £390,000 (USD 652,448).

        Nevertheless, though the amount a third party actor can spend on election activities is capped, according to Bob Posner at the Electoral Commission, there is no limit on donations directly from third parties to political actors. Third party actors can give as much as they like to candidates and parties.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Schedule 10, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Part 2, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0097/14097.pdf

        Managing Non-Party Campaign Spending, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0010/169471/sp-manage-spending-npc-ukpge.pdf

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, December 2014.

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        17
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        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Both political parties and individual candidates are in the UK subject to election spending limits by law.

        Party campaign spending in the UK context means spending to promote the party and its policies generally (e.g. through national newspaper adverts for the party, or leaflets explaining party policy). It also includes spending on promoting candidates at elections where the party nominates a list of candidates for a region, instead of individual candidates for local areas. Candidate spending, on the other hand, means the campaigning to promote a particular candidate or candidates in their local area (e.g. through leaflets or websites that focus on one or more candidates and their views.

        With regard to political parties, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Schedule 9) set the limit for campaign spending (which include spending on party political broadcasts production costs, advertising, unsolicited mail, manifestos and party publications, market research, press conferences and services, transport, rallies and public meetings). The regulated period for which the spending limit applies covers the 365 days prior to polling day. Party spending limit is based on the number of constituencies the party is contesting in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is calculated by multiplying the number of contested seats by £30,000 (USD 50,582). For a party contesting all the seats in the United Kingdom the applicable limit would be £19.5 million (USD 32.9 million).

        Election spending for individual candidates is also limited by law. Article 76 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 state: “No sum shall be paid and no expense shall be incurred by a candidate at an election or his election agent, whether before, during or after an election, on account of or in respect of the conduct or management of the election, in excess of the maximum amount specified in this section, and a candidate or election agent knowingly acting in contravention of this subsection shall be guilty of an illegal practice.”

        The allowed election expenses for candidates are calculated based on a short restricted period and a long restricted period. In terms of the short period (between the dissolution of parliament and the polling day), Article 76 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 states a fixed amount of money plus a certain amount of money per elector and gives the Secretary of State the powers to amend this amount as the value of money changes over time. In the 2010 election, this candidate expenditure limit was set at £7,500 (USD 12,645) plus either 7 pence (USD 1.2) per elector for county constituencies or 5 pence (USD 0.9) per elector in borough/burgh constituencies. For the next general election in May 2015, the limit will be slightly higher at £8,700 (USD 14,523) plus either 9 pence (USD 1.5) per elector for county constituencies or 6 pence (USD 1) per elector in borough/burgh constituencies.

        A longer regulated period of candidate expenses was introduced for the first time in the 2010 election, running from January 1, 2010 to polling day May 6, 2010. This new regulated period became law by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Article 21). The maximum campaign expenses incurred by candidates were set at £25,000 (USD 42,151) plus either 7 pence (USD 1.2) per elector for county constituencies or 5 pence (USD 0.9) per elector in borough/burgh constituencies. At the next general election in May 2015, the limit will be slightly higher at £30,700 (USD 51,249) plus 6p/9p (USD 1/1.5) per elector in a borough/county constituency.

        The spending limit for contesting seats to the House of Commons in by-elections (which occurs when a Member of Parliament resigns, dies, or is disqualified or expelled, and an election is held to fill the vacant seat) has a higher spending cap. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 132) amended Article 76 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 and set the campaign spending limit for parliamentary by-elections to £100,000 (USD 166,935) per candidate.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 132, Schedule 9, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 29, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Article 76, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        18
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        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        There are three types of sub-national elections in the UK: elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), local elections, and mayoral elections (as well as elections to the European Parliament and, since 2012, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections). The political finance law found in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (for parties and regulated donees) and the Representation of the People Act 1983 (for candidates) apply in relation to national as well as sub-national elections. In all national and sub-national elections, candidates and parties violate the law if they accept donations from impermissible donors, e.g. foreign sources and anonymous donors, and if they fail to correctly report their expenses and contributions. What differs across elections in terms of political finance regulations is the limit on campaign expenses and, to some extent, the reporting requirements.

        Elections to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly occur every four years. The regulated period in which there is a campaign expenditure limit is four months and the spending limit for parties is £12,000 (USD 20,024) per constituency in Scotland, £10,000 (USD 16,687) per constituency in Wales, and £17,000 (USD 28,367) per constituency in Northern Ireland. For by-election to the devolved parliaments (in the case a seat is vacated), the campaign spending limit is £100,000 (USD 166,935), which is the same as for by-elections to the House of Commons.

        Local elections are held in different parts of the country each year. In local elections, councillors are elected forming the UK’s local administrations. A number of tiers of local council exist, at region, county, district/borough and town/parish levels. For political parties, there are no separate limits on campaign expenditure incurred during local election campaigns. For small parties with income and expenditure below £25,000 (USD 41,717), however, there is no requirement to submit a Statement of Accounts to the Electoral Commission.

        For candidates running for office in local elections, there are expenses limits during the regulated period, which begins when the candidate officially becomes a candidate and ends at the close of the poll. From August 2014, the spending limit for the regulated period is £740 (USD 1,234), plus 6 pence (USD 0.10) per registered local government elector. This is a much lower limit than for candidate spending at general elections (for the next general election in May 2015 this will be £8,700 (USD 14,523) plus either 9 pence (USD 1.5) per elector for county constituencies or 6 pence (USD 1) per elector in borough/burgh constituencies).

        Certain councils in England and Wales have mayors as local government executive leaders, most notably London. For mayoral elections the spending limit for the regulated period (the day one officially becomes a candidate) is a little higher than for local elections, set at £2,362 (USD 3,943) plus 5.9 pence (USD 1) per registered elector in the local authority area in which the candidate is standing.

        Candidates at local and mayoral elections must submit a return to the Electoral Commission after the election with information on all expenses and contributions, including invoices and receipts for any payment of £20 (USD 33) and details of all donations over £50 (USD 83).

        Since the political finance legal framework applies to both national and sub-national units – the main difference being merely the amount of money each unit is allowed to spend at elections – there are no obvious gaps in the regulatory framework. However, according to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, while there is very good scrutiny and a high degree of transparency connected to general elections, there is somewhat less scrutiny of local elections.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The rules governing political financing in the UK apply to all elections and sub-national units. As such, national elections such as those in Scotland and Wales and sub-national elections such as for the Mayor of London are subject to the same legislation as national elections.

        The Electoral Commission, as regulator, oversees compliance with this legislation. As such, it oversees:

        Members of the UK Parliament Members of the European Parliament representing the UK Members of the Scottish Parliament Members of the National Assembly for Wales Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly Members of any local authority in the UK (excluding parish or community councils), including the London Assembly Mayor of London and any other elected Mayor Members of political parties

        There is one gap in the regulatory framework however - donations from foreign sources are still permissible in Northern Ireland. This is a result of Ireland's unique history - not only is it the case that individuals from the Republic of Ireland may support Northern Irish political groups, there is also a large Irish diaspora that has traditionally funded Irish politics. In particular, many Northern Irish political parties have received support from American Irish companies. There have been calls from campaigners to close this loophole and bring Northern Irish political funding into line with the rest of the UK.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Representation of the People Act 1983, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

        Election expenditure controls, House of Commons Library, Standard Note: SN/PC/04611, 2013. http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN04611/election-expenditure-controls

        Local elections in England and Wales: Guidance for candidates and agents, Electoral Commission, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0005/141773/ca-part-3-locals-ew.pdf

        Mayoral elections in England: Guidance for candidates and agents, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0010/147088/Part-3-Spending-and-donations-Local-Mayoral.pdf.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: List of organisations that it regulates from the Electoral Commission website http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/political-parties-campaigning-and-donations/donations-and-loans-to-other-individuals-and-organisations

        Ban on Foreign Donations Should Extend to Northern Ireland, The Guardian, 28 July 2013 http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/jul/28/foreign-donors-parties-northern-ireland

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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission published, in 2011, a campaign spending report based on the last general election in the UK, which took place in May 2010. According to this report, in the year leading up to the 2010 election, political parties reported a total of £80.7 million (USD 135.8 million) in donations.

        Individual donations were the largest category making up 47 percent of total donations. Company donations were 21 percent of total; trade union donations constituted 16 percent; public funding through the Policy Development Grant, Short Money and Cranborne Money made up 10 percent of total donations; unincorporated associations stood for four percent; and the last two percent came from ‘other’ sources. Political parties in the UK are not financed through businesses that they themselves own and there are regulations in place with regard to accepting donations from trusts. Political parties can only accept donations from trusts that were established prior to 1999 and which have remained unchanged since 1999, and from trusts that were created from the will of a permissible donor. The Electoral Commission’s donations database, PEF Online, shows that these two types of exempt trusts gave £190,578 (USD 307,136) to political parties in the year leading up to the 2010 general election. Moreover, charities are not allowed to financially support political parties and candidates in the UK.

        In terms of loans made by political parties, during the year leading up to the 2010 election, parties borrowed £10.6 million (USD 17.8 million).

        The two largest parties in the UK are the Conservative Party and Labour Party. Much of the donations given to the Conservative Party running up to the 2010 election came from individuals within the financial services sector while the Labour Party relied heavily on donations from labour unions.

        With regard to donations made to individual candidates, the Election Commission report shows that, in the year leading up to the 2010 election, candidates reported a total of £24.4 million (USD 41.0 million). This includes all donations received from others and, in some cases, the amount of self-funding by candidates. Candidates are not requires to declare the amount by which they self fund their campaigns so there is no statistics on this. Bobby Friedman who in an investigative journalist and author and who has written extensively on political finance issues in the UK argues that some candidates do self-fund to some degree but not more than a few thousands of pounds from their own pockets. He argues that there is no need to be rich in order to run for elections in the UK.

        Lastly, in terms of political funding by third-party actors, the Electoral Commission report states that third-party actors reported having received donations during the year leading up to the 2010 election to the amount of £1.2 million (USD 2.0 million).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        Democracy Ltd.: How Money and Donations have Corrupted British Politics, by Bobby Friedman, 2013, One World Publications, London.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        The UK Electoral Commission’s online searchable database on political finance, visited on August 2, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/search/searchintro.aspx

        Revealed: how the City bankrolls Tory party, by Oliver Wright, The Independent, February 9, 2011. 2011. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-how-the-city-bankrolls-tory-party-2208668.html

        More than half of Conservative donors 'from the City', BBC News, February 9, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12401049

        Amount donated to parties four times as great as at same time in 2005, by Polly Curtis, The Guardian, April 20, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/apr/20/donations-election-parties

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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        Under UK law, political parties and individual candidates must adhere to campaign spending limits. The law on political finance also forbids donations from anonymous sources and foreign sources. There have been some documented cases of suspected violations of these regulations. There have also been some cases that, while not being directly unlawful, have gone against the intent of the law.

        To start with, political parties have a limit on how much they are allowed to spend in relation to election campaigns. However, the limit is rather high and, according to the Electoral Commission’s report on campaign spending at the 2010 general election, none of the big political parties came even near the limit in terms of campaign spending.

        According to Bobby Friedman who is the author of a recent book on political finance in the UK, the problem with campaign spending limits lies at the candidate level. However, these candidate-level cases end up in the ‘impossible to prove’ category and no-one has been convicted for breaking this law. Some cases have, however, been reviewed by the Electoral Commission. For example, the Commission conducted a review of Member of Parliament Chris Huhne’s election expenses return following receipt of an allegation that he had exceeded the spending limit. The Commission did not find fault enough to impose any sanction in this case. The case of Member of Parliament Zac Goldsmith is similar. The Commission commenced a case review shortly after the 2010 election after having received allegation that Mr Goldsmith’s return may have omitted or under reported certain costs and that he may have exceeded the spending limit. Neither in this case did the Commission find that sanctions were appropriate.

        The political finance law in the UK forbids donations from so-called impermissible donors, which includes anonymous donors and foreign donors. According to the Electoral Commission’s annual report to Parliament, in the election year, 2010, the Commission recovered six impermissible donations with a total value of over £105,000 (USD 176,406).

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, there are some current loopholes in the political finance regulatory framework that have been used and that violate the intent, although not the letter, of the law. One such loophole is the use of company structures: as long as you carry on business in the UK you can continue to make political donations to UK political actors.

        The Electoral Commission has investigated donations made by Bearwood Corporate Services Limited (BCS) because the donations were not generated by the company’s trading activities but instead originated from a Belizean based company called Stargate Holdings Limited (Stargate). Because Stargate is registered in Belize it would be an impermissible donor. Stargate is, in turn, owned by Lord Michael Ashcroft who is the former Treasurer of the Conservative Party and Member of the House of Lords. Under UK legislation, it is no requirement that the funds a company donates to a political party must be generated from its own trading. Therefore, the foreign company, Stargate, could legally donate money via BCS.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Following the 2010 election, a newly elected MP, Zac Goldsmith, was also investigated by the Electoral Commission for possible breaches of the campaign spending limits.

        The breaches occurred during the 'short campaign', the period between the dissolution of parliament and the national election.

        Initially, journalists questioned Goldsmith's statement of accounts to the Electoral Commission. In a television interview Zac Goldsmith was questioned over branded shirts which had cost £2168 though only £170 had been declared to the regulator. Goldsmith explained that the shirts themselves had been paid for through his constituency's normal funds as they would be used again and that it was the branded stickers that cost £170.

        In its final report on the matter the Electoral Commission declined to pass the case to the police for criminal prosecution and stated that there was no intentional breach of funding regulations. Howver, it did observe that 'cost-sharing' was "not consistent with the Commission's guidance or good practice" and that the accounts filed were unclear in places.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        Annual Report & Resource Accounts 2010/11, Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0017/119312/EC-annual-report-and-accounts-2010-11-web.pdf

        Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Chris Huhne MP, Electoral Commission, website accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0005/119507/Chris-Huhne-Case-Summary.pdf

        Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Zac Goldsmith MP, Electoral Commission, website accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/107222/Zac-Goldsmith-Case-Summary.pdf

        Case summary: Electoral Commission investigation into donations reported by the Conservative Party from Bearwood Corporate Services Limited, Electoral Commission, website accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0009/87219/Case-summary-Bearwood-Corporate-Services.pdf

        Ashcroft's millions: from Belize tax haven to Tories via Southampton, by Ian Cobain, The Guardian, March 5, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/mar/05/ashcroft-tories-funding-belize

        Reviewer's sources: Questions over Zac Goldsmith's Election Expenses, Channel 4 News, 15 July 2010 http://www.channel4.com/news/questions-over-zac-goldsmiths-election-expenses

        Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Zac Goldsmith MP, Electoral Commission, December 2010 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/107222/Zac-Goldsmith-Case-Summary.pdf

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    71
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Reporting requirements of political parties and regulated donees are governed by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 while reporting requirements of individual candidates are found in the Representation of the People Act 1983.

        For registered political parties, in terms of contributions, articles 62 and 63 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 state that political parties must report on contributions in the form of donation reports, both during and outside of electoral campaign periods (quarterly during non-election campaign periods and weekly during election periods). Contributions, in these reports, must be itemized and Schedule 6 of the same law states the details to be given in the donation reports to include: Name and address of the donor; The value of the donation (in cash or otherwise) Date of the donation was received by the party.

        All donations of more than £500 must be recorded and checked by the recipient to ensure that they comply with the regulations governing donations.

        There is a threshold on the value of donations that must be reported. This threshold was elevated in the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Article 20) to £7,500 (USD 12,651). All single donations above that value or smaller donations from the same source that add up to that value must be reported in the donation reports.

        In terms of reporting expenditures, according to Article 80 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, registered political parties are only required to report on expenditure after the election has been held, i.e. not during campaign periods. These reports must be itemized and include a statement of all payments made in respect of campaign expenditure, and the return must be accompanied by all invoices or receipts. Under Article 82 of the same Act, the party treasurer must deliver this campaign expenditure report to the Electoral Commission within three months of the end of the campaign period (or within six month of the campaign period if the amount spent exceeds £250,000 (USD 422,580) for which the report has to be prepared by a qualified auditor).

        All political candidates must report itemized contributions and expenditures only in the form of a spending return that is submitted after an election has been held. The reporting requirements for candidates are found in the People Act 1983 (Article 81) which states “within 35 days after the day on which the result of the election is declared, the election agent of every candidate at the election shall transmit to the appropriate officer a true return... containing a statement of all payments made by the election agent together with all the bills and receipts”. With regard to donations, the same article continues by stating a requirement of “a statement of all money, securities and equivalent, of money received by the election agent from the candidate or any other person for the purpose of election expenses incurred or to be incurred, with a statement of the name of every person for whom they may have been received”. These returns must then be sent to the appropriate officer, according to article 89, which, since its establishment is the UK Electoral Commission, in accordance with article 145 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

        Certain political candidates, which are members of registered parties and holders of relevant elective office, must follow additional rules with regard to reporting donations set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. These so-called regulated donees include individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the House of Commons and the members of the sub-national Parliaments (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). According to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 71 and Schedule 7), regulated donees must report each donation to the Electoral Commission within the period of 30 days beginning with the date of acceptance of the donation. All donations – whether in the form of money or goods or services provided without charge or on non-commercial terms – must be reported if they exceed the reporting thresholds, which is £7,500 (USD 12,651) to a members association or £1,500 (USD 2,518) to an individual regulated donee (these thresholds were amended by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Article 20). Multiple donations from a single source which aggregate to more than the threshold must be reported.

        In summary, political parties must report itemized contributions regularly both during and outside electoral campaign periods. Political parties must report itemized expenditures only after an election. Political candidates must report both itemized contributions and expenditures only after an election. However, if the candidate falls within the definition of a ‘regulated donee’ he/she must report each donation within 30 days of having accepted the contribution.

        Outside of elections, political parties in local constituencies and national parties are also required to submit yearly accounts to the Electoral Commission. These do not take the form of a standard company account, but instead include politically relevant material. Different levels of disclosure are required for constituency groups with different incomes. The most detailed local accounts, those for local party groups with incomes of over £250,000, do not include itemised spending data but do include a breakdown of incomes and expenditures. These accounts are freely available on the Electoral Commission website.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 62, 65, 71, 80, 82, 145 and Schedules 6 and 7, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 20, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Articles 81 and 89, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

        Standardising Statements of Accounts for Local Accounting Units, Electoral Commission, June 2008 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0008/57527/SOA-Consultation-Paper.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        Registered political parties are required by law to submit donation reports to the Electoral Commission on a weekly regular basis during election periods, regulated donees are required to declare their donations as and when they get them and other individual candidates are not required to report their financial information until after the election.

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Articles 63 and 65) state the reporting requirements for political parties to the Electoral Commission during election campaigns. According to Article 63, the party treasurer must prepare a report on financial information, in the form of a donations report, every seven days during election campaigns. In turn, Article 65 states that this donations report “shall be delivered to the Commission by the treasurer of the party in question—(a) within the period of 7 days beginning with the end of the reporting period to which it relates...”

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 71 and Schedule 7) make provision for controlling donations to so-called regulated donees. These are individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). These regulated donees must declare to the Electoral Commission all donations they receive above a certain threshold and deliver the report to the Commission within the period of 30 days beginning with the date of acceptance of the donation. Therefore, if the regulated individual receives a donation, he/she must report it within a month but there is no requirement for submitting regular reports for this category of people.

        Individual political candidates have different reporting requirements from political parties. While candidates must report the expenses incurred and contributions received during the official campaign period in the form of a spending return, these spending returns only need to be reported after an election has been held and therefore not during election periods in accordance with the People Act 1983 (Article 81). The regulated official campaign period for candidates refers to a long period and a short period. In relation to the next UK general election, which will be held on May 7, 2015, the long period will begin on 18 December 2014 and end on the day before the person become a candidate. The short campaign will begin on the date the individual become a candidate (at the earliest on March 30, which is the day the Parliament is dissolved) and end on polling day.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 63, 65, 71 and Schedule 7, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Article 81, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Registered political parties but not individual candidates are required by law to report their financial information in the form of donation reports to the Electoral Commission on a regular basis (quarterly) outside of election periods.

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Articles 62 and 65) state the reporting requirements for political parties to the Electoral Commission outside of election campaign periods. According to Article 62, the party treasurer must prepare a report on financial information, in the form of a donations report, for every quarter of the year. “The treasurer of a registered party shall, in the case of each year, prepare a report under this subsection in respect of each of the following periods— (a) January to March; (b) April to June; (c) July to September; (d) October to December” In accordance with Article 65, this report shall be delivered to the Electoral Commission no more than 30 days after the end of the reporting period.

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 71 and Schedule 7) makes provision for controlling donations to so-called regulated donees. These are individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). These regulated donees must declare to the Electoral Commission all donations they receive above a certain threshold and deliver the report to the Commission within the period of 30 days beginning with the date of acceptance of the donation. Therefore, if the regulated individual receives a donation, he/she must report it within a month (regardless of whether it is an election period or not) but there is no requirement for submitting regular reports for this category of people.

        Individual political candidates have different reporting requirements from political parties. While candidates must report their financial information in the form of a spending return, these spending returns (which include both contributions and expenditure) only need to be reported after an election has been held and therefore not on a quarterly basis accordance with the People Act 1983 (Article 81).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 62, 65, 71 and Schedule 7, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Article 81, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        75
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        For political parties contesting a general election, quarterly donation reports (during non-election periods) as well as weekly donation reports (during election periods) must be delivered to the Electoral Commission. These donation reports are itemized in that they include detailed information about the donors and the donations, such as donor’s name, his/her address, and whether or not the donor is permissible; value of donation, and date it was received. Political parties must also submit expenses returns after the election. The expenses return contains information on category of spending as well as information per item of spending.

        For the last general election in May 2010, the Electoral Commission states in its campaign spending report that 64 percent of the parties that were required to do so complied with the reporting requirements for weekly donation returns. The rest failed to do so despite receiving several reminders from the Commission. However, all the parties that failed to submit the weekly returns were small parties that did not get any seats in the Parliament. The compliance rate of submitted expenditure returns after the election was greater and 82 percent of required parties delivered the returns in time (by August 5, 2010). By February 2011, only four parties had not delivered their expenditure returns to the Commission. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, while all returns and reports were not delivered on time in relation to the 2010 election, compliance has improved since then. There is now a ‘culture of compliance’.

        Regulated donees (individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)) must declare to the Electoral Commission all donations they receive above a certain threshold. Within 30 days of having accepted the donation, the regulated donee must submit a report to the Electoral Commission by filling out a form which requires certain information about each donation, such as amount (or value if it was non-cash), the date it was received, nature of donation, name and address of donor, and donor’s status. In the year leading up to the 2010 election, 348 accepted donations by regulated donees were reported to the Electoral Commission.

        Individual candidates must submit a spending return after the election has taken place. After the general election in May 2010, the Electoral Commission received spending reports for 97 percent of the candidates who stood at the election – including details of spending for all candidates who were elected, or who finished second.

        The return must contain itemized information according to category, such as advertisement and travelling costs. Apart from that, each item must contain information, such as the date the invoice was made, value of the item, and name and address of supplier. For donations received by the candidate, information must include the name and address of donor, amount of donation and date it was received. Not all this information is publicly available. Instead, after the general election, the Electoral Commission published headline spending and donations data from candidate returns on its website. For the 2010 election, The Electoral Commission published headline spending and donations for 4,031 candidates. This published data shows spending per category as well as aggregate value of donations and, as such, the published information cannot be considered itemized.

        In summary, in practice, most political parties report on itemized contribution on a weekly (during election period) and quarterly (during non-election period) basis. They also report on campaign expenditure after the election has been held. All this information from political parties is itemized. Regulated donees report itemized contributions as and when they receive a donation. All political candidates must submit itemized contribution and expenses information to the Electoral Commission after the election has taken place, and sources indicate that most do so, but not all this information is open to the public.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        Return of candidate spending- UK Parliamentary by-election in Great Britain, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0013/107104/form-ce-by-election-ca.pdf

        Quarterly donation return by a registered political party, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0013/13513/form-rp10.pdf

        Reporting a donation or visit, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0016/13507/form-rd1a-rd.pdf

        Guidance on campaign spending, Electoral Commission, Website accessed on August 11, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/party-or-campaigner/guidance-for-political-parties/campaign-spending

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 11, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CampaignExpenditureSearch.aspx and https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch

        UK general elections - candidate election spending, Electoral Commission, Website accessed on August 11, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/uk-general-elections/candidate-election-spending

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        75
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        All registered parties must fill out a quarterly donation return and submit it to the Electoral Commission during non-election periods. The quarterly donation return forms has separate entries for donations received in cash (cash, cheque, bankers order, credit card, other transfer), and non-cash donations (with estimated value). Other information that must be filled out include: name and address of the donor, the date the donation was received and date it was accepted, the nature of the donation, and who the donation was received by. All this information goes into the Commission’s online database, PEF Online, which is free and open to the public. However parties are required only to report donations of more than £7,500 (for donations accepted by party HQ) or £1,500 (for donations accepted by a party's accounting units). If the same source makes a number of small donations adding up to the abovementioned values, they must be reported, and are, in practice.

        Regulated donees (individual members of registered parties, members associations, and certain elected office holders, such as Members of the UK Parliament and the members of the sub-national Parliaments (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)) must declare to the Electoral Commission all donations they receive above a certain threshold. Within 30 days of having accepted the donation, the regulated donee must submit a report to the Electoral Commission by filling out a form which requires certain information about each donation, such as amount (or value if it was non-cash), the date it was received, nature of donation, name and address of donor, and donor’s status.

        As such, the regulated donee must submit an itemised list of declareable donations - rather than submitting reports at fixed intervals they notify the regulator of donations on a rolling basis. They are required to have bookeeping procedures to ensure this process is properly managed. Where they receive £7500 in a year from one source - either in one donation or aggregated - they must report it within the thirty day period to the regulator. The limit of £7500 applies to all types of donations, either in-cash or in-kind. They are also required to report all donations over £500 that are 'impermissible' - either from a donor not on the electoral register, a foreign company or an anonymous source. All of these donations reported to the regulator are available online at the Electoral Commission's online database.

        Individual candidates must submit a spending return to the Electoral Commission after the election has taken place, which includes all contributions. The return form specifies that, for each donation accepted by or on behalf of the candidate, it must state whether the donation was made in cash or in-kind (non-cash donation) and what their respective amount or value were. It must also include the name, address and status of the donor, as well as date received and accepted, and the nature of the donation. However, note that donations to individual candidates that are less than £50 do not count as donations, and do not need to be reported.

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, it is standard that all reports and returns include itemized contributions, and if they do not, the Commission will chase the party, regulated donee or other candidate until they get it right.

        In terms of public availability of this data, on the online database, PEF Online, one can choose to see all donations to political parties and regulated donees that were made in cash as well as all non-cash donations. This database shows, for example, that the Conservative Party received 1979 cash and 313 non-cash donations in the year leading up to the 2010 general election. It also shows that, in the year leading up to the 2010 election, regulated donees received 348 donations whereof 68 were non-cash (or in-kind).

        All donations reported on PEF Online have a reference number. However, there is no personal identifier of the donor in this database apart from the name and if the donor is a company or other organisation, its address. According to law (the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 100)), if the donor is an individual, his/her address will not be reported to the public.

        In terms of publicly available candidate financial information, after the general election in 2010, the Electoral Commission published headline donations data from candidate returns on its website. This data, however, only shows aggregate amount of accepted donations and does not show whether the donations were made in cash or in-kind. Neither does the data show the name or other identifier of the donor.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Quarterly donation return by a registered political party, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0013/13513/form-rp10.pdf

        Reporting a donation or visit, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0016/13507/form-rd1a-rd.pdf

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 11, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch

        UK general elections - candidate election spending, Electoral Commission, Website accessed on August 11, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/uk-general-elections/candidate-election-spending

        Donations and Loans: Guidance for Regulated Donees in Great Britain, Electoral Commission 2006 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0019/13708/026-regulated-donees-guidance-final.pdf

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 100, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        According to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, political parties’ statement of accounts (Article 46) and expenses returns (Article 84) must be made public by the Electoral Commission. “Where the Commission receive any statement of account [any return] they shall (a) as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving the statement [return] make a copy of the statement [return] available for public inspection...” The law does not mention format, time or cost in relation to making parties’ accounts and expenses returns publicly available.

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 69) give the Electoral Commission the mandate to maintain a register of all donations to registered political parties. The register must contain information about the donation and donor, such as amount (or value) of donations, relevant dates, and nature of donation but it leaves open for the Commission to maintain the register in such form as they may determine.

        In terms of individual political candidates, the law is vague about format, cost and number of days within which information must be made available. The Representation of the People Act 1983 (Article 89) requires expense returns to be kept at an appropriate office (which since 2000 has been the Electoral Commission) and made “open to inspection by any person on payment of the prescribed fee”.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 46, 69 and 84, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Article 89, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        75
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        According to Bobby Friedman who was a frequent user of political finance data published by the Electoral Commission during the research for his recent book on political finance in the UK, the information provided by the Commission is of good quality. However, he adds that while the Commission offers transparency about absolute numbers this does not say anything about processes in relation to political finance.

        PEF Online is the Electoral Commission’s online database for data related to political finance. This database is freely available to the public. The database contains information on donations to political parties, third parties, permitted participants and regulated donees. The searcher can specify what time period or election/referendum he/she wants information on, and specification on what type of donation, e.g. cash, non-cash and public funds. One can also search directly on the name of the donor or donee. The same information as for donations is available for loans.

        The PEF Online also contains searchable data on campaign expenditure for political parties, third parties and permitted participants. One can also search for information by entity name or supplier name. Information on expenditures can be specified by category, e.g. advertising, media and transport. PEF Online also contains searchable data on statement of accounts for all political parties whereby parties’ income sources and expenditure types can be specified according to a number of categories.

        The result of each the search can then be exported to a machine readable .csv file or a .pdf file.

        In addition to donations and loans, the PEF database also includes parties' financial accounts at both a national and constituency level. These records stretch back over several years, allowing members of the public to see the sources of income and expenditure of both national political organisations and their local branches. The database also includes downloadable information on the yearly revenues, expenditures and assets of political groups.

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, having all information available on PEF Online is a good way of letting the public help scrutinising the information: ‘many eyes’ is a powerful tool.

        Data on donations and campaign expenditure by individual candidates (that are not regulated donees) is not published on PEF Online. Instead, after major elections, the Electoral Commission publishes headline donations and expenditure data from candidate returns on its website. This data, however, only shows aggregate amount of accepted donations and expenditure by category. Neither does the data show the name or other identifier of the donor. The data is, however, downloadable in .xls and .csv format.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 11, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch

        UK general elections - candidate election spending, Electoral Commission, Website accessed on August 11, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/uk-general-elections/candidate-election-spending

        PEF Online- getting started, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0007/117799/sp-pefonline-rp-npc-rc.pdf

        MPs Register of Financial Interests, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/

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        75
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        Parties and candidates fill out financial information using downloadable forms for donations and returns. Parties also fill out their information directly into the PEF Online system using a username and password. Financial information in terms of donations and campaign expenditure is as such standardised.

        Parties’ statement of accounts are more problematic. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, while all reported information follow good accounting standards, some of the party accounts are not standardised. The Electoral Commission publish this non-standardised information on the online database as it is and they also provide analysis of the data. Discussion is ongoing within the Commission to make this data standardised.

        This discussion has been going on for a while. In 2010, the Electoral Commission wrote in its submission to the Committee on Standards in Public Life that it was working to standardise the way in which parties draw up their annual statements of accounts because the way that parties use different reporting categories and accounting approaches make it difficult to carry out any meaningful analysis of different parties’ accounts. However, minutes from an Electoral Commission board meeting in 2012 shows that the process of standardising accounts has been difficult. According to these minutes, the Commission initially issued guidance to promote standardised accounts but parties did not follow it. The Commission also produced a standard template for use by smaller parties but the take up of the standard template proved disappointing.

        The Electoral Commission’s Corporate Plan 2014–15 to 2018–19, states the following with regard to standardisation of statements. “We did not meet our plans to implement [the standardisation statement of accounts project] in 2014 due to resource pressures.... we will be implementing an approach to standardised statement of accounts for both political parties and non-party campaigners following the 2015 UK general election.”


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. With regards donation and loan data, the presentation is standardised and available in .csv format. This enables journalists and reporters to perform data analysis on the information in the database.

        An example of how this data is used is shown by a story in The Independent newspaper in May 2014 which examined how much money was given by third party actors to The Conservative Party. It also allowed journalists to see which local constituencies were receiving the money.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 11, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch

        Return of candidate spending- UK Parliamentary by-election in Great Britain, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0013/107104/form-ce-by-election-ca.pdf

        Quarterly donation return by a registered political party, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0013/13513/form-rp10.pdf

        Reporting a donation or visit, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/electoralcommissionpdffile/0016/13507/form-rd1a-rd.pdf

        Party funding: The Electoral Commission’s submission to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Electoral Commission, 2010. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/106142/Party-funding-The-Electoral-Commissions-submission-to-the-Committee-on-Standards-in-Public-Life.pdf

        Minutes of the meeting of the Electoral Commission held on Wednesday 12 September 2012 at 9.30 am, Electoral Commission, 2012. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/151142/2012-09-12-Board-minutes-final.pdf

        Corporate plan 2014–15 to 2018–19, Electoral Commission, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0007/167362/2014-15-Corporate-Plan-print-ready-pdf.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Tory donations: Secretive members’ clubs have given party £5m in five years, Oliver Wright, The Independent, 16 May 2014 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-donations-secretive-members-clubs-have-given-party-5m-in-five-years-9388394.html

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        According to the Media Relations Officer at the UK Electoral Commission, the political finance data published by the Commission is frequently referred to by journalists and researchers and they often search the Commission’s database for information for stories. As an indication of this, to date there has been almost 30,000 unique users accessing the Commission’s online database on donations, loans and campaign expenditure.

        A news search confirms that several (more than three) independent mainstream journalism media outlets in the UK have used political finance data published by the Electoral Commission. Recent news stories using this data have focus particular attention on donations to parties from wealthy individuals and the Labour Party’s reliance on third-party funding from the labour unions.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Rosemary Davenport, Media Relations Officer, UK Electoral Commission, London, July 24, 2014, email.

        Xstrata’s Mick Davis gives £500,000 to Conservatives, by Christopher Hope, Daily Telegraph Online, May 15, 2013. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10059773/Xstratas-Mick-Davis-gives-500000-to-Conservatives.html

        Donor’s gift to Labour avoided tax bill of £1.5m, by Christopher Hope, Daily Telegraph, June 5, 2013. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10102190/Donor-John-Millss-gift-to-Labour-avoided-tax-bill-of-1.5m.html

        Wife of businessman involved in Aitken scandal gives Tories £1m, by Rajeev Syal, the Guardian, May 15, 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/may/15/wife-businessman-makhzoumi-aitken-donates-tory

        Vote Red Ed, get Red Len as Labour dinosaurs roar back to life, by Simon Heffer, Daily Mail, April 26, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2314968/Vote-Red-Ed-Red-Len-Labour-dinosaurs-roar-life.html

        Pressure back on Miliband as Labour's lead in the polls slips to just three points: Party's support at its lowest since the 2010 General Election, by Gerri Peev, Daily Mail, May 15, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325231/Pressure-Miliband-Labours-lead-polls-slips-just-points-Partys-support-lowest-2010-General-Election.html

        Majority of Labour's would-be MPs for 2015 election have links to the unions, by Gerri Peev, Daily Mail, April 25, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2314950/Majority-Labours-MPs-2015-election-links-unions.html

        Biggest Labour donor wants party to offer EU referendum, BBC New Online, May 17, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22542083

        More proof that Miliband is just a puppet of the unions, by Macer Hall, Daily Express, April 26, 2013. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/394822/More-proof-that-Ed-Miliband-is-just-puppet-of-unions

        Labour faces time bomb of financial meltdown, by Marco Giannangeli, the Express, June 9, 2013. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/406172/Labour-faces-time-bomb-of-financial-meltdown?utmsource=feedburner&utmmedium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+daily-express-news-showbiz+%28Daily+Express+%3A%3A+News+%2F+Showbiz+Feed%29

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        75
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        The most recent general election in the UK took place in May 2010. In terms of adherence to campaign spending limits, after the election, the Electoral Commission published a campaign expenditure report in which it described how the Commission had monitored candidates’ compliance with the election spending cap. No incidents of the law on campaign expenditure being violated were found through this monitoring exercise.

        After the 2010 election the Commission also conducted a total of 15 assessments of elected Members of Parliament and six of candidates who were not elected. In three cases, the Commission conducted a case review after receiving allegations of the candidate having omitted or under reported costs and exceeded the spending limit. After investigating the cases, the Commission found that in none of the three cases had election spending exceeded the limit. As such, each case was closed with no further action. The three Members of Parliament that had their expenses reviewed by the Commission were David Mundell, Chris Huhne and Zac Goldsmith. While none of the three were found to have violated or abused the law regulating campaign expenses, the cases of all three parliamentarians created media headlines. With regards to Zac Goldsmith, the Electoral Commission declined to pass the case to the police, though did note that the accounting practices did not meet good practice.

        Issues around donations made by Lord Michael Ashcroft, who is the former Treasurer of the Conservative Party and Member of the House of Lords, were highlighted during the 2010 election. It was argued in the media that donations from Ashcroft violated the law against donations from foreign sources, especially the donations that were made through company subsidiaries. The Electoral Commission investigated the case but did not find that the law had been breached. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, there are some current loopholes in the political finance regulatory framework that have been used and that violate the intent, although not the letter, of the law. One such loophole is the use of company structures: as long as you carry on business in the UK you can continue to make political donations to UK political actors.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Another pertinent example warrants a mention. In summer 2014, the Electoral Commission started an investigation into a Russian businessman who bought a portrait at a Conservative fundraising auction. As the proceeds of fundraising auction sales count as donations, buyers at fundraising events must be permissible to donate in the UK. In this case it has been alleged that the Russian businessman bought the portrait via a UK company controlled by his manservant. The investigation by the regulator is ongoing.

        All recipients of donations of any kind must also report all impermissible donations - for example those made anonymously , by people not on the UK electoral roll or foreign companies. These forbidden donations are recorded on the Electoral Commission's political finance database and also in extreme cases released as press notifications.

        In February of this year the Electoral Commission used its powers to fine two third party organisations (known in the UK as 'unincorporated associations') for failing to return 'impermissible donations'. Progress Ltd and Movement for Change, two organisations associated with the Labour Party, had failed to return donations from an individual not on the UK electoral roll (i.e. not resident in the UK). Each organisation took more than £300,000 from the individual and were fined between five and six thousand pounds.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Chris Huhne MP, Electoral Commission, website accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0005/119507/Chris-Huhne-Case-Summary.pdf

        Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Zac Goldsmith MP, Electoral Commission, website accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/107222/Zac-Goldsmith-Case-Summary.pdf

        Freedom of Information Request 66/10, Electoral Commission, 2010. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0020/107228/FOI-66-10-online-version-final.pdf

        Case summary: Electoral Commission investigation into donations reported by the Conservative Party from Bearwood Corporate Services Limited, Electoral Commission, website accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0009/87219/Case-summary-Bearwood-Corporate-Services.pdf

        Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith facing questions over election expenses, by David Batty, The Guardian, July 15, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/jul/15/zac-goldsmith-election-expenses

        Now Chris Huhne is accused by Lib Dem councillors of lying over '£60,000 election expenses', by Neil Sears, The Daily Mail, May 21, 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389285/Chris-Huhne-accused-lying-60-000-election-expenses.html

        Police probe David Mundell election expenses complaint, BBC News, July 15, 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south+scotland-10647056

        Lord Ashcroft goes from Tory saviour to election liability in marginal seats, by Toby Helm, Jamie Doward and Rajeev Syal, The Observer, March 7, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/mar/07/lord-ashcroft-donations-marginal-seats

        Ashcroft's millions: from Belize tax haven to Tories via Southampton, by Ian Cobain, The Guardian, March 5, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/mar/05/ashcroft-tories-funding-belize

        Reviewer's sources: £40k Margaret Thatcher portrait sparks Tory party donation query, The Guardian, 14 Aug 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/14/electoral-commission-40k-margaret-thatcher-portrait

        Electoral Commission fines Progress Ltd and Movement for Change – failure to return impermissible donations, 13 Feb 2014 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/electoral-commission-fines-progress-ltd-and-movement-for-change-failure-to-return-impermissible-donations

        Electoral Commission PEF donation database, Impermissible Donations Search https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch

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        100
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        There have been no recent news reports in the media or other documented incidents of vote-buying in the UK. In addition, the Electoral Commission published a report on electoral fraud in May 2013, which did not once mention vote-buying. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, “vote-buying is not a UK disease."

        While vote-buying per se is not a concern in the UK, Mr Posner said that there is some concern that community leaders in certain communities (closed communities and some South Asian communities) are too influential in telling their community who to vote for. Postal voting elevates this problem further because how would you know if the head of the household is the one filling out the ballot papers of other members of the household eligible to vote?

        This problem has been discussed in the media recently. According to the abovementioned Electoral Commission’s report on electoral fraud, “fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominately populated by some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh. The report also suggests that extended family and community networks may have been mobilised to secure the support of large numbers of electors in some areas and that the availability of postal voting increases the risk of electoral fraud associated with this approach, as the greater safeguards of secrecy provided in polling stations are removed.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. At the local level, there is an ongoing audit of one local council, Tower Hamlets. The audit, conducted by PwC was ordered by Eric Pickles, the Community Secretary. The secretary alleges that to elected mayor, Luftur Rahman, had sold council assets to key supporters at reduced rates. There are further allegations that council money was directed towards particular groups that were supportive of Mr Rahman. Whilst the investigation is ongoing there is no solid evidence of vote buying and Mr Rahman and his associates contend that the investigation into his council is based on ethnic prejudice.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Electoral Fraud in the UK- Evidence and issue paper, Electoral Commission, 2013. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0004/155335/Electoral-fraud-evidence-and-issues-paper-revised.pdf

        By permitting fraud we betray democracy, by Andrew Gilligan, The Telegraph, May 6, 2010. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7687416/By-permitting-fraud-we-betray-democracy.html

        Reviewer's sources: Tower Hamlets mayor launches legal bid to question inquiry into council, The Guardian, 1 July 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/01/tower-hamlets-mayor-legal-bid-halt-government-inquiry-council

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        The fact that there is plenty of media news coverage on issues concerning political finance in the UK leads one to believe that this issue is popular also among civil society organisations in the UK. That is not so much the case. None of the large think tanks or policy focused NGOs appear to have done much work on the topic of political finance in recent years.

        One organisation that has done a fair share of work on issues concerning political finance – and that has made use of political finance data – is Unlock Democracy: a grassroots movement concerned with transparency and accountability in the UK. According to its Director, Alexandra Runswick, Unlock Democracy has in recent years conducted research on various topics related to political funding, e.g. on political funding at constituency level, and on unions’ support of the Labour Party. The organisation has also made profiles of individual political donors, and published analyses on the Electoral Commission’s quarterly reports.

        Unlock Democracy has also used data on political funding in its campaigning. For example, in 2012, the organisation launched a campaign to urge the public to write to their Members of Parliament and demand that political finance law concerning donations from foreign sources be properly enforced. The campaign material used data on money received by parties from foreign sources after 2009 when such funders should have become impermissible donors.

        A few other organisations have had a voice in recent political finance debates in the UK. In a recent press release, an independent campaigning organisation,the Electoral Reform Society, showed, using data from the Electoral Commission that several of the people having received peerage to the House of Lords – the unelected upper house of the British Parliament – had also been large party donors or closely associated with party donors. Moreover, Chandu Krishnan, the former Executive Director of Transparency International UK, urged for reform of the political finance system in 2011. Transparency International UK also published a report on political finance reform back in 2006.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, August 15, 2014, phone.

        Party Funding: The Government must enforce existing law, Unlock Democracy, 2012, Website access on August 15, 2014. http://unlockdemocracy.org.uk/media/news/entry/party-funding-the-government-must-enforce-existing-law

        Cash for peerages? Nearly £7m donated by new Lords appointments, Press release from the Electoral Reform Society, August 8, 2014. http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/images/dynamicImages/file53e4ac00c06b2.pdf

        The need for reform to party funding is palpable, by Chandu Krishnan, Transparency International UK, November 22, 2011. http://www.transparency.org.uk/news-room/blog/12-blog/158-the-need-for-reform-to-party-funding-is-palpable/158-the-need-for-reform-to-party-funding-is-palpable

        Secondary source: Corruption and the Funding of UK Political Parties, Transparency International UK, 2006 http://www.transparency.org.uk/publications/15-publications/284-corruption-and-the-funding-of-uk-political-parties

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        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        There have been several legal reforms and reviews on political finance in the UK over the past 10 years following the Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 2000 which established the Electoral Commission as oversight institution for political finance issues and which enacted laws on donations, campaign expenditure and reporting requirements.

        To start with, the ‘cash for honours’ was a large political scandal that broke in 2006 and where the police investigated claims that laws banning the sale of honours had been broken by political parties giving peerages to the House of Lords in return for donations and loans. It also emerged that the three largest political parties in the UK had all borrowed money for their campaigns for the 2005 general election without properly reporting these to the Electoral Commission. This scandal prompted new registration requirements for loans taken by political parties in the Election Administration Act 2006.

        Also in 2006, the Government launched a Review of the Funding of Political Parties. The review focused particularly on imposing limit to donations, lower limits on campaign spending, and whether or not public donations to parties should increase. Building on the 2006 review, in 2008 the Ministry of Justice published a set of government proposals in its report Party Finance and Expenditure in the United Kingdom.

        In 2009 the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 refined legislation on permissible donors, such as a ban on foreign donations. This sat in the context of a political scandal which had erupted in connection to large donations being given to the Liberal Democratic Party by a donor convicted of fraud and money laundering.

        The amendment to the existing legislation increased the threshold at which donations had to be declared to the Electoral Commission from £5000 to £7500 for national parties and third party actors. The threshold for local constituencies rose from £1000 to £1500.

        Coming to terms with political finance in order to improve voters’ perception of politicians is an important issue in the UK, which can be seen from the Conservative Party manifesto from 2010 which stated: “We will seek an agreement on a comprehensive package of reform that will encourage individual donations and include an across-the-board cap on donations. This will mark the end of the big donor era and the problems it has sometimes entailed.”

        In 2011, the parliamentary Committee on Standards in Public Life published a report titled Political Party Finance- Ending the big donor culture. As the title suggests, the subject discussed at length is a possible cap on private donations and an increase of public funding of political parties. This subject has also recently been debated by civil society organisations (see, for example, article Transparency International’s Chandu Krishnan).

        Finally, in 2014 the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill was passed. This Bill imposes stricter regulations on third-party actors in terms of election-related expenses and financial reporting.

        Andrew McDonald, who was a senior advisor on the 2006 Review of the Funding of Political Parties, recently wrote for the Guardian newspaper a nice summary of recent years’ efforts to reform the political finance system in the UK. “The main contours of a solution are now well established: caps on donations; tighter controls on general election spending; tougher regulation of third party expenditure and greater transparency of the sources of party income”. In terms of reforming the political finance system, he added: “The problem sits in the ‘too difficult’ tray. And there is a risk it will be left there for fear of upsetting entrenched interests or because reform might yield advantage to one party or another.”

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        Electoral Administration Act 2006, chapter 22, 2006. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/22/contents

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, chapter 12, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Article 32, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0097/14097.pdf

        The Review of the Funding of Political Parties- an interim assessment, Government of the United Kingdom, 2006. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/243604/0117037184.pdf

        Party Finance and Expenditure in the United Kingdom, Ministry of Justice, 2008. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/238761/7329.pdf

        Political Party Finance- Ending the big donor culture, Committee on Standards in Public Life, 2011. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228646/8208.pdf

        Invitation to Join the Government of Britain, the Conservative Manifesto 2010, Conservative Party, http://www.conservatives.com/~/media/files/activist%20centre/press%20and%20policy/manifestos/manifesto2010

        Democracy Ltd.: How Money and Donations have Corrupted British Politics, by Bobby Friedman, 2013, One World Publications, London.

        Q&A: Cash-for-honours, BBC News, July 20, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4812822.stm Cash for honours scandal reaches No.10, by George Jones and John Steele, The Telegraph, July 13, 2006. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1523758/Cash-for-honours-scandal-reaches-No.10.html

        Nick Clegg facing demand over fraudster's £2.4m donation, by Rajeev Syal and Ian Cobain, the Guardian, April 21, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/apr/21/nick-clegg-donor-fraud

        Let the public pay for political parties, by Andrew McDonald, the Guardian, April 2, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/02/public-pay-political-parties-taxpayer-funding-expenses-scandal

        Political parties shelve funding reform talks, BBC News, July 4, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23177856

        The need for reform to party funding is palpable, by Chandu Krishnan, Transparency International UK, November 22, 2011. http://www.transparency.org.uk/news-room/12-blog/158-the-need-for-reform-to-party-funding-is-palpable/158-the-need-for-reform-to-party-funding-is-palpable

        Donations to Members of Parliament, Parliamentary SN/PC/01119, Oonagh Gay, 17 Dec 2009 www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01119.pdf

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    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
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        MODERATE
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        According to the new Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Adminsitration Act of 2014, which supercedes the previous legislative framework (the Political Parties, Elections, and Referendums Act of 2000) in regards to third party actors, non-party campaigners who intend to spend over £5000 on campaigning to influence the outcome of an election are required to register with the Electoral Commission. These become recognised third-party actors. Third-party actors that spend under these thresholds on campaigning do not need to register with the Electoral Commission and, as such, the laws on reporting contributions and expenditure do not apply to these third party actors. It may be seen as a loophole in the law that third party actors can have active campaigns that are not transparent if they only spend below the thresholds and thereby are not required to report contributions and expenditure to the Electoral Commission.

        Article 21 of the new legislation limits the amount that third party actors can spend on national campaigns to:

        in relation to England, 2% of the maximum campaign expenditure limit in England ; in relation to Scotland, £20,000 plus 2% of the maximum campaign expenditure limit in Scotland; in relation to Wales, £20,000 plus 2% of the maximum campaign expenditure limit in Wales; in relation to Northern Ireland, £20,000 plus 2% of the maximum campaign expenditure limit in Northern Ireland.

        Local constituency spending would be limited to £9750.

        Article 35 of the new legislation states that financial returns containing the itemized income and expenditures of registered third party groups must be submitted to the Electoral Commission during the election period. If more than £250,000 is spent, then an independent auditor must vet the income and expenditure of the group.

        According to Article 32, apart from the third party return that is submitted after the elections, registered third party actors must also submit pre-poll donation reports quarterly from the start of the regulated period until the dissolution of Parliament, and weekly from the dissolution of Parliament until polling day. The quarterly reports must be delivered to the Commission by the responsible person within the period of 30 days beginning with the end of the reporting period to which it relates, and the weekly report must be delivered to the Commission by the responsible person within the period of 7 days beginning with the end of the reporting period to which it relates.

        The Electoral Commission is obliged to make these pre-polling reports public, as stated in Article 95H of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill “Where the Commission receive a quarterly or weekly report under section 95A or 95C, they must—(a) as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving the report, make a copy of the report, and of any documents accompanying it, available for public inspection, and (b) keep any such copy available for public inspection for the period for which the report or other document is kept by them.”

        In summary, third party actors that spend above a threshold and subsequently register with the Electoral Commission must report to the Commission itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of national electoral campaigns, and this information is made public by the Commission.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 96, 98, 100, Schedule 11, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Articles 21, 32, 35, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0097/14097.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission’s online database, PEF Online, contains itemized contributions and expenditures for all registered third party actors in the UK.

        In the year leading up to the 2010 general election, PEF Online reports that 38 donations to the aggregate value of £1.7 million (USD 2.9 million) were accepted by registered third party actors. The online database contains information on name and address of donor (although address is omitted if donor is an individual), type of donation, value of donation, and the date when it was given, accepted and reported. The donations were made up of trade union funding to anti-fascist non-party campaigners along with donations to issue-based campaign groups from individuals, think tanks and companies.

        In relation to the 2010 general election, data on 28 separate campaign expenses is available on the database including the category of expense, the total amount (or value) as well as amount of spending per nation (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the date the expense was incurred, the date of claim for payment, and the date it was paid. The name and address of supplier is also available on PEF Online per item reported.

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, for registered third party actors there is a high rate of reporting compliance. However, only third party actors that spend a certain amount of money campaigning have to register with the Electoral Commission (over £20,000 [USD 33,176] in England, £10,000 [USD 16,588] in Scotland, £10,000 [USD 16,588] in Wales and £10,000 [USD 16,588] in Northern Ireland). It is not known what share of all campaigning third party actors these registered ones account for. According to Mr Posner, it is an accepted fact at the Electoral Commission that some unregistered third party actors engage in campaigning but it is not something that the Commission has researched. In addition, third party actors are engaged politically in a number of ways but have thus far only been required to report expenses from election campaign materials, which may not tell the whole story.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The researcher's account is correct. However, the above situation is likely to change with the introduction of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act. This law requires any third party organisation that wishes to spend over £5000 during an election campaign to register with the Electoral Commission during the election period.

        Groups must also submit statements of controlled expenditure during the election period. At other times expenditure reports are not requested, though annual statements of accounts must be filed with the regulator and available for public inspection. The largest groups with incomes of over £250000 must submit the most stringent accounts and have them vetted by a qualified auditor. Donations to third party groups must be reported quarterly and weekly during election campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 17, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch and https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CampaignExpenditureSearch.aspx

        Introduction for Non-Party Campaigners, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0008/169451/intro-campaigner-npc-ukpge.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Information on donations from and to third party actors, as well as election campaign expenses incurred by third parties, is reported to the public free of charge and downloadable to machine readable format (.csv) on the Electoral Commission’s online database, PEF Online.

        Using the database, one can find all donations that have been given to political parties as well as regulated donees (members of registered political parties, holders of relevant elective office and members associations) either by searching the name of a particular third party actor or viewing donations by type of donor (e.g. trade union, friendly society or unincorporated association).

        Information about donations to other political candidates (i.e. other than regulated donees) is reported in an aggregate format and not part of PEF Online. It is therefore not possible to easily see which particular donor the donations came from.

        In terms of election campaign expenditure, while PEF Online reports third party actors’ expenditure by category, it is not possible to see if the spending was made for the purpose of benefitting a specific political party or candidate.

        According to investigative journalist Bobby Friedman who is the author of a recently published book on political finance in the UK, unions are not as transparent as political parties but, at least, their sums are registered.

        The law regarding third party actors and their reporting requirements have recently been amended. Starting from September 2014 when the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill becomes comes into force, registered third party actors will be required to submit to the Electoral Commission, apart from expenses and contribution returns following a general election, also donation reports (quarterly during non-election periods and weekly during election periods) as well as statement of accounts.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. With regard to third parties, it is possible to use PEF online to search for donations to "unincorporated associations". These are organisations that are not part of political parties but are regulated by the Electoral Commission. All donations made of over £7500 in one year to these organisations can be viewed online.

        There has been some criticism of the Consevative Party for using these groups as a mean to conceal the source of donations. In the case of constituencies this may be a valid criticism as the threshold for the public declaration of donations is a lower £7500

        It is also possible to track the donations made by the third party actors themselves, allowing journalists to track the flow of money in and out of them.

        A recent piece of legislation, the Transparency of Lobbying and Non-Party Campaigning Act, which came into power in September 2014, also mandates that some third parties will have to submit yearly financial accounts to the Electoral Commission.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Bobby Friedman, journalist and writer, London, July 25, 2014, phone.

        Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Articles 32 and 33, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0097/14097.pdf

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 18, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch and https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CampaignExpenditureSearch.aspx

        UK general elections - candidate election spending, Electoral Commission, Website accessed on August 18, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/uk-general-elections/candidate-election-spending

        Reviewer's sources: Harriet Harman accuses Tories of relying on 'shady money', The Guardian, 16 August 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/26/harriet-harman-accuses-tories-relying-shady-money

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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        There are two ways third party organisations are relevant to political finance in the UK. First, some third party organisations fund political parties. This category most notably refers to trade unions funding the Labour Party. According to the Electoral Commission’s online database, PEF Online, There were 1061 donations made by registered trade unions to political parties and regulated donees in the year leading up to the 2010 general election. Out of these 946 donations to the value of £11.1 million (USD 18.5 million) were made to the Labour Party. This is a sizable portion of the £21.9 million (USD 36.6 million) in total the Labour Party received in donations in that time period.

        There is an ongoing debate on whether it is right that parties should get funding from unions and if there should be a cap on such donations. There was particular media attention in April 2012 around a proposal by the Labour Party to cap all donations, including from Unions, to £5,000 (USD 8,346) but exempt Union affiliation fees to the Labour Party, as they are the sum of many small donations from thousands of individuals. However, the way in which union members automatically support the Labour Party without being able to opt out or support another party through the fees is controversial. According to research conducted by Unlock Democracy, unions’ affiliation to the Labour Party is generally opaque to their members. On the websites of the 15 unions affiliated with the Labour Party, there is hardly any mention about this affiliation and how members contribute to the Party’s financing.

        Bobby Friedman, in his recent book on political finance in the UK, writes that the unions’ substantial funding of the Labour Party means, in practice, that they are able to influence policy in a way that other interest groups would never be allowed to do. A Member of Parliament is quoted in the book to have said “The only corrupt relationship now in politics is that between the Labour Party and the trade unions. The only organisations that give money that is specifically tied to policy changes or tied to manifesto commitments at the next general election that then become law, are the trade unions.”

        The second way in which third party actors is relevant for political finance in the UK is through their own political activities, i.e. their own campaign spending. Third party campaigning forms a relatively small proportion of overall campaign expenditure in the UK general election context. The Electoral Commission reports that in connection to the 2010 general election, there were 33 registered third party campaigners. After the election, 23 of these campaigners reported total expenditure of £2.8 million (USD 4.7 million) and around 9% of the £31.5 million (USD 52.6 million) spent by political parties on national campaigning. Issues that attracted significant level of spending by third party actors included constitutional change, animal rights, opposition to far-right parties, and a number of union supported campaigns, e.g. opposition to post office closures.

        With regard to third parties circumventing political finance laws, Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, argues that it has not been the case because the laws concerning third party actors have thus far been very lenient and therefore difficult to break. Until now third party actors have only needed to report election campaign material. The standards are higher now and that is after a realisation that third party actors are important players in UK politics. With the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, the transparency of third parties’ political work in relation to the next general election in May 2015 will increase.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Whilst the unions raise funds through their memberships, which is donated to the Labour Party, other third party actors have other sources of funding. The Conservative party is closely linked to two dinner clubs, the United & Cecil and the Carlton Club. These groups organise fundraising events with the proceeds being donated to the Conservatives. The party has also faced criticism over its association with third party groups such as the Midlands Industrial Council, which is allegedly a group of wealthy businessmen who help to fund the Conservative party.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Democracy Ltd.: How Money and Donations have Corrupted British Politics, by Bobby Friedman, 2013, One World Publications, London.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        PEF Online, Electoral Commission, database accessed on August 17, 2014. https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=advDonationSearch

        The Labour-Union link - a question of transparency, by Alexandra Runswick, Unlock Democracy, 2012. http://unlockdemocracy.org.uk/page/-/publications/TradeUnionAffiliationFeesArticle.doc.pdf

        Ed Miliband's party donation cap plan snubbed by Tories, by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, April 15, 2012. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/apr/15/ed-miliband-party-donation-cap

        Reviewer's sources: The mystery Midlands millionaires break silence over Tory funds, The Telegraph, 14 Sept 2006 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1528795/The-mystery-Midlands-millionaires-break-silence-over-Tory-funds.html

        Tories accused of raising funds using private clubs, The Guardian, 22 Nov 2013 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/22/tories-accused-funds-private-clubs

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

    More about category
    composite
    75
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      Monitoring Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        In the UK, the independent oversight authority, the Electoral Commission is, by law, mandated to monitor political finance information. The Commission has both audit and investigatory powers.

        The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 established the Electoral Commission, and sets out the provision about the finances of political parties, including donations and expenditure for political purposes.

        This Act mandates the Electoral Commission to monitor compliance with the act, hence to monitor political finance information. According to Article 145 “The Commission shall have the general function of monitoring compliance with... (b) the restrictions and other requirements imposed by other enactments in relation to— (i) election expenses incurred by or on behalf of candidates at elections, or (ii) donations to such candidates or their election agents.”

        Article 43 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 gives the Commission powers to require political parties’ accounts to be audited by a qualified auditor.

        The investigatory powers of the Commission were refined in 2009 in the Political Parties and Election Act 2009, article 146 and Schedule 19B. It gives the Commission powers to require organisations to produce, for inspection by the Commission or a person authorised by the Commission, any documents which relate to the income and expenditure of the organisation or individual in question, and are reasonably required by the Commission for the purposes of carrying out their functions. The same holds in cases where the Commission suspects that an offence has taken place.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 43 and 145, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 146, Schedule 19B, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

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        MODERATE
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        Appointments of Electoral Commissioners are regulated by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which was amended by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009, and the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.

        The Electoral Commissioners and the Chairman of the Commission are appointed by Her Majesty, according to Article 1 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. Article 3 of the same Act specifies that such appointment must come after a consultation with the leaders of each registered political parties in the House of Commons and after an agreement of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

        While there is no mention about appointments being based on merit in the two Acts governing the Electoral Commission mentioned above, the appointments of Commissioners are subject to a selection process based upon merit following the Commission for Public Appointments' Code of Practice.

        The Electoral Commission has ten Commissioners, which lead on strategy at the organisation. Six of these 10 Commissioners are independent of political parties and four have been nominated by political parties. Article 5 of the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 states that “four of the Electoral Commissioners shall each be a person whom the registered leader of a qualifying party put forward to be considered for appointment as an Electoral Commissioner (a nominated Commissioner).” However, a nominated Commissioner may not be appointed as the chairman of the Commission. The fact that four Commissioners are affiliated with political parties clearly means that appointments involving conflicts of interest are not forbidden. On the other hand, the law ensures that the lower level staff at the Electoral Commission is free of conflicts of interest. Article 7 of the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 states that a person may not be appointed as a member of the staff of the Commission if the person is an officer or employee of a registered party, holds a relevant elective office, or been named as a donor in the register of donations.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In particular, the code of practice mentioned by the researcher is based upon three central tenets: that appointments are made on merit, that the process is fair, and that it is transparent.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Articles 1 and 3, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Articles 5 and 7, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, Article 2, 2012. http://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Code-of-Practice-20121.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission has 10 Commissioners that make the big strategic decisions. Reports stating the process of selecting new Electoral Commissioners are published by the Speaker’s Committee on the House of Common’s website, which adds transparency to the process of appointing Commissioners.

        Using the example from one of these reports, the appointment process started with an independent selection panel being set up and an independent assessor being invited to ensure that the process adhered to the Code for Public Appointments. Following advertisement in the press and a number of websites five of the 21 applicants were shortlisted for interviews by the Panel. The report states that “the [Speaker’s] Committee is entirely satisfied that the selection process was rigorous and that the Panel discharged its duties conscientiously and with all due regard to the requirements of thoroughness, fairness and propriety.” A candidate was then proposed by the panel and endorsed by the Speaker’s Committee. The Speaker then offered political parties to comment on the proposed candidate. The responses from those political parties that commented are also published as an appendix to the report. As a justification for choosing the candidate they did for the job of Commissioner, the Speaker's Committee stated that “Miss Carragher, whose curriculum vitae is appended to this Report, has both the experience and the personal qualities to be an effective Commissioner.”

        No media attention was given to the appointments of Commissioners.

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, the appointment process is absolutely done in practice as it says in law and public recruitment best practices are being followed.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Speaker's Committee Third Report 2011, House of Commons’ Website, accessed on August 18, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmspeak/1509/150902.htm

        The Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission - Fourth Report: Appointment of a nominated Commissioner, House of Commons’ Website, accessed on August 18, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmspeak/1728/172802.htm

        The Speaker's Committee - First Report: Appointment of nominated Commissioners to the Electoral Commission, House of Commons’ Website, accessed on August 18, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmspeak/320/32002.htm

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        MODERATE
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        The independent oversight authority in the UK, the Electoral Commission, is governed by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and the Political Parties and Election Act 2009.

        The Electoral Commission is allowed to independently take actions necessary to monitoring political finance compliance. Article 145 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 gives the Electoral Commission the mandate of monitoring compliance with laws on political finance set out by that Act. This mandate was strengthened by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 1, which stated that the “The Commission shall have the function of monitoring, and taking such steps as they consider appropriate with a view to securing, compliance with” the laws on political finance set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

        Electoral Commissioners, the Commission Chairman and Deputy Electoral Commissioners have, according to law, security of tenure. All the current Commissioners are appointed for four years, although this length of tenure is not provided in law. Instead, according to Schedule 1 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 “the period for which an Electoral Commissioner is appointed shall be the period specified in relation to him in the address pursuant to which he is appointed”. Moreover, article 3 of the same law states that “an Electoral Commissioner, or the chairman of the Commission, may be re-appointed (or further re-appointed)”.

        Removal of an Electoral Commissioner is based on due process and requires an address from the House of Commons. No oversight body independent of Parliament is involved in thep rocess. According to Schedule 1 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 “an Electoral Commissioner may be removed from office by Her Majesty in pursuance of an Address from the House of Commons.” And “no motion shall be made for such an Address unless the Speaker’s Committee have presented a report to the House of Commons stating that the Committee are satisfied that one or more of the following grounds is made out in the case of the Electoral Commissioner in question— (a) he has failed to discharge the functions of his office for a continuous period of at least 3 months; (b) he has failed to comply with the terms of his appointment; (c) he has been convicted of a criminal offence; (d) he is an undischarged bankrupt or his estate has been sequestrated in Scotland and he has not been discharged; (e) he has made an arrangement or composition contract with, or has granted a trust deed for, his creditors; (f) he is otherwise unfit to hold his office or unable to carry out its functions.”

        In terms of the chairman of the Commission, Schedule 1 states that if he ceases to be an Electoral Commissioner, he also ceases to be chairman.

        Schedule 1 states that a Deputy Electoral Commissioner may be removed from office by the Commission, but only if they are satisfied that one or more of the following grounds is made out in his case— (a) he has failed to discharge the functions of his office for a continuous period of at least 3 months; (b) he has failed to comply with the terms of his appointment; (c) he has been convicted of a criminal offence; (d) he is an undischarged bankrupt or his estate has been sequestrated in Scotland and he has not been discharged; (e) he has made an arrangement or composition contract with, or has granted a trust deed for, his creditors; (f) he is otherwise unfit to hold his office or unable to carry out its functions.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The Code of Practice for Public Appointments also gives recourse to individals who feel they have been unfairly refused a position for which they are qualified on the basis of political prejudice. Applicants to roles can complain to the Public Appointments Commissioner if they feel that their recruitment process was unfair. Equally, it is not possible for ministers to favour candidates by extending their appointments - for a commissioner to have their tenure extended it is necessary to ensure the extension complies with the law and that a process of public scrutiny and review is undertaken. The period of employment for commissioners is linited to ten years.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 145, Schedule 1, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Article 1, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Reviewer's sources: The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, Article 2, 2012. http://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Code-of-Practice-20121.pdf

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        75
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, there is no ‘funny business’ going on at the Commission. Commissioners do their job without interference and no-one has been removed or disciplined in an arbitrary way.

        However, the Commission Chair, Jenny Watson, featured in the media in 2012 as one newspaper reported that her job as Chair had come under scrutiny of the House of Commons Speaker's Committee. Her four-year term as head of the Commission was to expire at the end of the 2012 and she would normally be considered for automatic re-appointment. However, “in a ‘stormy’ meeting some committee members, with tacit Government support, are believed to have challenged the proposal – suggesting she must face external competition.” According to the minutes from this meeting, the Committee decided to require an appraisal of Jenny Watson's performance before considering whether she should be re-appointed. She was later reappointed for another term that will terminate at the end of 2016.

        No other stories related to Commissioners and their positions have been mentioned in the media.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Electoral Commission boss faces fight for job after claims of fraud, by Oliver Wright and Jerome Taylor, The Independent, May 3, 2012. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/electoral-commission-boss-faces-fight-for-job-after-claims-of-fraud-7707489.html

        Speaker’s Committee for the Electoral Commission, Formal minutes of meeting on 7 March 2012, 2012. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/speakers-electoral-commission/2012SCECMainCommitteeFormalMinutes.pdf

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        --
        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission is the UK’s regulator of political funding and spending. It provides advice and guidance on political finance rules; it receives, analyzes and publishes information about donations and campaign spending; it monitors how well the rules are being followed; it advises governments on changes to the rules and makes recommendations for change; and it deals with breaches of the rules.

        The Electoral Commission is legally empowered to investigate and impose sanctions in relation to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which regulates donations and loans to, and campaign spending by, political parties, third party actors and regulated donees. The Commission can impose civil sanctions for most criminal offences under this Act without a referral to the police. The Commission has a statutory duty to monitor compliance with parts of the Representation of the People Act 1983 relating to candidates campaign expenses but the Commission is not legally empowered to investigate and impose sanctions for offences under this Act. All assessments, case reviews and investigations are conducted according to established internal procedures.

        Ten Commissioners lead the strategy and set the priorities at the Electoral Commission. Commissioners act collectively: they do not have individual authority. They are independent of political parties – though the four most recently appointed Commissioners bring direct experience in political parties – and are accountable directly to Parliament.

        The Commission also has an Executive Team, which supports the Commissioners by providing the day-to-day leadership to implement strategy. The Chief Executive is responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Commission and has authority to act subject to compliance with any relevant approved Commission policy, and subject to any expenditure being within the agreed budget. In addition, the Commission has a Management Team that is divided into different subject areas, one being ‘party and election finance’.

        The Commission Board meets on an approximately monthly basis to discuss and review strategy and priorities. These meetings are attended by all 10 Commissioners and the Executive Team. The Commission Board reports to the Speaker’ Committee, which in turn reports to Parliament.

        Decision making within the Electoral Commission is consensual although voting is possible if necessary. The Commission’s Corporate Governance Framework state that “the [Commission] Board shall aim to reach decisions by consensus. When this is not possible, and unless these Standing Orders provide otherwise, if any question arising before the Board requires a vote it shall be determined by a majority of the members present.”

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, “there have been no well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicised although there are occasions where people disagree with decisions made by the Commission and complain that they are politicised. These complaints have not been substantiated.”

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Electoral Commission Corporate Governance Framework, Electoral Commission, 2012. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0004/145561/Corporate-Governance-Framework-December-2012-web-version.pdf

        Governance and Decision-Making, Electoral Commission’s website, accessed on August 19, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are/governance-and-decision-making

        Corporate plan 2014–15 to 2018–19, Electoral Commission, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0007/167362/2014-15-Corporate-Plan-print-ready-pdf.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        The budget for the Electoral Commission is set by the Parliamentary Committee ‘Speaker’s Committee for the Electoral Commission’, which was formed at the same time as the Electoral Commission under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, the Speaker’s Committee makes sure that enough resources go to the Electoral Commission. In his opinion, the Commission has enough resources to monitor and review all incoming reports.

        In terms of evidence of such monitoring and reviewing; in connection with the last general election which took place in 2010, the Electoral Commission received and reviewed election expenses returns from 4,028 candidates. The Commission also monitored 103 constituencies in order to assess candidate compliance with spending restrictions. In effect, the Commission monitored candidate expenses ‘in the field’ and then compared their notes with candidate returns after the election. The checks indicated good compliance with regard to candidate spending limits. In connection with the 2010 election, the Commission also carried out checks on 4,011 donations (totalling more than £67 million (USD 113 million)) made to political parties in 2010, to ensure they were from permissible sources. It also dealt with 113 allegations of potential breaches under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and conducted case reviews and an investigation.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        UK General Election 2010- Campaign spending report, The Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/109388/2010-UKPGE-Campaign-expenditure-report.pdf

        Annual Report & Resource Accounts 2010/11, Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0017/119312/EC-annual-report-and-accounts-2010-11-web.pdf

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 2, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission has a three-stage process for dealing with potential breaches of political finance regulations stated in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. • Initial assessment - at this stage, the Commission assesses matters to establish if there is a potential breach of legislation and, if so, whether this warrants referral for a case review or investigation. • Case review - where the initial assessment suggests there may be a breach of legislation, the Commission seeks to determine whether this is indeed the case. The Commission will not at this stage use its formal powers of investigation and will not conduct interviews. • Investigation – the Commission will commence an investigation where it needs to use its statutory powers to obtain information and/or where it interviews individuals in order to obtain information necessary to determine where there has been a breach of legislation.

        According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, the Commission conducts case reviews and investigations when necessary.

        In 2010, the year in which the last general election took place, the Electoral Commission conducted 85 initial assessments of allegations that rules under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 had been breached. In 33 cases the Commission carried out a case review and in one case it undertook an investigation. The investigation followed an independent auditor’s report that a political party’s records were inadequate and that the party’s financial statements did not give a true and fair view of its affairs.

        During 2011/12, the Commission conducted 219 initial assessments of allegations that the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 rules had been breached and 137 case reviews but no investigation was undertaken. During 2012/13, 68 initial assessments and case reviews were undertaken but no investigation. Finally, during 2013 and up to July 2014 the Commission completed 36 initial assessments and case reviews relating to breeches in political finance regulation but no investigation was undertaken.

        As these figures show, the Commission often conducts case reviews, which are beyond initial compliance reviews, but it rarely conducts investigations.


        Peer reviewer comments: Agree. In terms of process, it is possible for members of the public, politicians or journalists to contact the Electoral Commission to make complaints on a range of issues, from donations to problems with voting or political advertising. There have been several cases where MPs have made complaints to the Commission. The Electoral Commission recently started an inquiry into a donation made by a Russian businessman at a Conservative party fundraising auction. The complaint was made by Shiela Gilmore, the Labour MP for Edinburgh East.

        The process of making a complaint is simple and contact details to do so are available on the Electoral Commission website. The regulator recently set up a special point of contact for any complaints made in relation to the Scottish referendum.

        Where individuals feel that complaints made to the Electoral Commission have not been adequately dealt with there is a further level of oversight - people can make a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which can force the Electoral Commission to review complaints made to it.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Annual Report & Resource Accounts 2010/11, Electoral Commission, 2011. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0017/119312/EC-annual-report-and-accounts-2010-11-web.pdf

        Annual Report & Accounts 2011/12, Electoral Commission, 2012. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0010/149626/Annual-Report-and-Accounts-for-2011-12.pdf

        Annual Report & Accounts 2012/13, Electoral Commission, 2013. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/162110/Our-annual-report-and-accounts-for-2012-13.pdf

        Annual Report & Accounts 2013/14, Electoral Commission, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/169778/2013-14-Annual-Report-and-Accounts-web-version.pdf

        Case Summary: Electoral Commission Investigation into the British National Party 2008 Statement of Accounts, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0011/107030/BNP-Case-Summary.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Making a complaint, Electoral Commission website http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/complaints#

        £40k Margaret Thatcher portrait sparks Tory party donation query, The Guardian, 14 Aug 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/14/electoral-commission-40k-margaret-thatcher-portrait

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        25
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission does not publish individual case review reports or reports of investigations. Instead, it provides summary information of cases in three different ways in accordance with its disclosure policy.

        First, the Commission publishes information in relation to completed cases on its website. The document titled ‘information on closed cases’ contains information on: • Whether a breach or offence was established • Whether a sanction was issued and the nature of the sanction • The reasons for imposition of any sanction • Whether the sanction is the subject of an appeal. This document is updated on the second Thursday of each month. Thus far it contains information on 50 cases going back to March 2012.

        Second, in some cases the Commission produces a very detailed case summary report and/or issues a news release. Four such case summaries have been published on the Commission website thus far, including the report on the Zac Goldsmith case included as a source.

        Finally, under schedules 19B and 19C of the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 the Commission is required to report to Parliament annually on the use of its investigatory powers and civil sanctions. The number of case reviews and investigations and some details are provided in the Commission’s various annual reports to the Parliament.


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree, suggests a higher score. Four of the more detailed case summaries mentioned by the researcher have been published on the Commission website thus far. These include exceptional cases, such as accusations that Bearwood Corporate Services, controlled by Lord Ashcroft, was transferring impermissible donations to the Conservative party (not upheld) or that Zac Goldsmith MP overspent on his electoral campaign in 2010 (not upheld).

        Additionally the Electoral Commission reviews data from other sources for the purposes of transparency. Of particular relevance, it collects data from the UK's 40 police forces relating to electoral crime and publishes the data.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Disclosure Policy – Enforcement Casework, Electoral Commission. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0020/150293/2012-08-30-Disclosure-policy.pdf

        The Electoral Commission, "Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Zac Goldsmith MP," December 22, 2010. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/107222/Zac-Goldsmith-Case-Summary.pdf

        Information about closed cases, Electoral Commission, accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0009/151659/Cases-publication.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Schedules 19B and 19C, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Reviewer's sources: Case summary: Electoral Commission investigation into donations reported by the Conservative Party from Bearwood Corporate Services LimitedElectoral Commission, 2010 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0009/87219/Case-summary-Bearwood-Corporate-Services.pdf

        Case Summary: Case review concerning campaign expenditure return in respect of Zac Goldsmith MP, Electoral Commission 2010 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0014/107222/Zac-Goldsmith-Case-Summary.pdf

        Analysis of cases of alleged electoral fraud, Electoral Commission 2013 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0004/166459/Analysis-of-cases-of-alleged-electoral-fraud-2013.pdf

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        The law governing political finance for political parties is the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. It specifies violations of political finance laws for political parties and their agents. Political finance laws for individual candidates, on the other hand, are set out in the Representation of the People Act 1983 and these pre-date those of political parties and the existence of the Electoral Commission. Therefore, the civil sanctions regime imposed by the Electoral Commission does not apply to cases involving candidates and agents governed under the Representation of the People Act 1983. Instead this Act contains criminal offences. Crown Prosecution Service (England and Wales), the Crown Office (Northern Ireland), and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland) prosecute such matters and the courts apply criminal sanctions.

        With regard to violation of laws concerning political parties, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 79 ) makes it an offence to exceed the limit of campaign expenditure: “(a) the treasurer or any deputy treasurer of the party is guilty of an offence if—(i) he authorised the expenditure to be incurred by or on behalf of the party, and (ii) he knew or ought reasonably to have known that the expenditure would be incurred in excess of that limit; and (b) the party is also guilty of an offence.” Another offence is the acceptance by political parties of anonymous donations. Amendments were made to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Article 54) in 2009 by the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Article 9), which makes it an offence to make false declaration as to the source of donations.

        With regard to candidate political finance regulation, there is, in law, also a limit for how much individual candidates are allowed in election campaign expenses and this is determined by the Representation of the People Act 1983. Article 84 of this Act makes it an offence for candidates to fail to make a proper expenses return. This offence comes with a monetary penalty (Article 85) for each day the candidate sits or votes in the House of Commons.

        The Electoral Commission has a set of sanctions it is allowed to impose on offenders of the political finance laws stated in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. The Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Schedule 2) amend these sanctions to include the imposition of fixed monetary penalties (on a person, a registered party, a recognised third party, or a permitted participant) as well as one or more discretionary requirement (on a person, a registered party, a recognised third party, or a permitted participant). The Commission may also serve on a person a notice (a “stop notice”) prohibiting the person from carrying on an activity specified in the notice until the person has taken the steps specified in the notice.

        While the law specifies what sanctions are available to the Electoral Commission, it does not specify what offence should be met by what sanction. Instead, Schedule 2 of the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 orders the Electoral Commission to provide and publish guidance on how and when it will impose the available sanctions.

        The Electoral Commission published this guidance in 2010 in the report ‘Enforcement Policy’. It provides details on the sanctions that apply to different offences in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the way in which financial penalties are calculated, and the circumstances in which voluntary enforcement undertakings may be accepted.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, Article 54 and 79, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Schedule 2 and Article 9, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, Article 84 and 85, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

        Enforcement Policy, Electoral Commission, 2010. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0003/106743/Enforcement-Policy-30March11.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission is the independent oversight authority for political finance concerns. It has a set of civil sanctions it is allowed to impose on offenders of the political finance laws stated in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. The Electoral Commission does not have powers to impose criminal sanctions, but may refer a breach for criminal investigation or seek prosecution in more serious cases. The Commission may refer cases for criminal investigation or prosecution to the Crown Prosecution Service (England and Wales), the Crown Office (Northern Ireland), and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland). The Commission has agreed Memorandums of Understanding with all these bodies that guide these relationships and referrals.

        The Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (Schedule 2) state this set of sanctions. Sanctions include the imposition of fixed monetary penalties (on a person, a registered party, a recognised third party, or a permitted participant) as well as one or more discretionary requirement (on a person, a registered party, a recognised third party, or a permitted participant). The Commission may also serve on a person a notice (a “stop notice”) prohibiting the person from carrying on an activity specified in the notice until the person has taken the steps specified in the notice.

        In terms of political finance issues concerning individual candidates, which is governed by the Representation of the People Act 1983, the Commission has no sanctioning powers in respect of breaches of the rules on candidate expenses and donations, but may refer a suspected breach for criminal investigation or seek prosecution, in the same way that any other interested organisation or individual may do. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, there has been a discussion in the Commission about whether the ability to sanction should be extended to such candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, 2000. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/41/pdfs/ukpga20000041en.pdf

        Political Parties and Election Act 2009, Schedule 2, 2009. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/12/contents

        Representation of the People Act 1983, 1983. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/pdfs/ukpga19830002en.pdf

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        75
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        The Political Parties and Election Act 2009 amended the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 and gave the Electoral Commission better basis for imposing civil sanctions on political parties as well as people in elected offices. According to Bob Posner who leads the ‘Party and election finance group’ at the Electoral Commission, the new powers to impose sanctions have been successful because imposing fines (basically naming and shaming) acts as a good deterrence for people in politics who care about their reputation. According to Mr Posner, those people who have been fined have generally paid them without problems.

        The Commission publishes summary information in relation to completed cases on its website. The document titled ‘information on closed cases’ contains information on 50 cases going back to March 2012. According to information from these cases, there have been two repeat offenders since 2012. The case information also shows that all but one offender have paid the imposed fines without further sanctions being needed.

        In the non-compliance case, the treasurer of a small political party called Proclaiming Christ's Lordship was late in delivering the statement of accounts for 2010. The Commission imposed a fine of £500 (USD 830). When the penalty was not paid within the set time limit it automatically increased to £750 (USD 1,244). A non-compliance penalty to the sum of £2,000 (USD 3,318) was also imposed. The same party failed to deliver the 2011 statement of accounts on deadline. A penalty of £750 (USD 1,244) was imposed, which increased to £1,125 (USD 1,866) after failure to deliver it within set time limit. In addition, a non-compliance penalty of £3,000 (USD 4,977) was imposed. Finally, a charging order was obtained in March 2013 against a property owned by Reverend Hargreaves, the registered treasury at the time, in respect of unpaid penalties and costs. The case summary states that ‘partial payment has been received’. The Electoral Commission has published two press releases on this case.

        The second repeat offender was a small membership organisation called Conservative Christian Fellowship which failed to deliver its donation report within 30 days after accepting the donation on two occasions. On the first occasions the organisation was fined £200 (USD 332) and on the second occasion it was fined £500 (USD 830). The organisation paid the penalty imposed on both occasions.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There has been a been a recent example of organisations failing to comply with instructions from the Electoral Commission. In these cases the regulator relied on its power to issue fines to resolve the situations.

        In February 2014 the Electoral Commission used its powers to fine two third party organisations (known in the UK as 'unincorporated associations') for failing to return 'impermissible donations'. Progress Ltd and Movement for Change, two organisations associated with the Labour Party, had failed to return donations from an individual not on the UK electoral roll (i.e. not resident in the UK). Each organisation took more than £300,000 from the individual and were fined between five and six thousand pounds.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        Electoral Commission fines the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship” Treasurer and Ashfield and Mansfield Liberal Democrats, Electoral Commission, June 14, 2102. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/electoral-commission-fines-the-christian-party-proclaiming-christs-lordship-treasurer-and-ashfield-and-mansfield-liberal-democrats

        Information about closed cases, Electoral Commission, accessed on August 8, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0009/151659/Cases-publication.pdf

        Electoral Commission fines former treasurer of the Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”, Electoral Commission, February 14, 2013. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/electoral-commission-fines-former-treasurer-of-the-christian-party-proclaiming-christs-lordship

        Reviewer's sources: Electoral Commission fines Progress Ltd and Movement for Change – failure to return impermissible donations, 13 Feb 2014 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/electoral-commission-fines-progress-ltd-and-movement-for-change-failure-to-return-impermissible-donations

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        --
        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        In terms of the Electoral Commission’s effectiveness of enforcement, Bob Posner from the Commission argues that the Political Parties and Election Act 2009 (amending the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000), gave the Commission more investigatory power and that made all the difference. In his opinion there is nothing obvious now preventing effective enforcement.

        With regard to urgent areas of reform to political finance regulations in the UK, Bob Posner stated that, at the moment, the question about funding political parties is the most topical area for reform. However, this is policy consideration for parliament to decide on and the Electoral Commission cannot voice an opinion about policy. What the Commission can do is draw attention to parliament if it sees that laws are not working as they should, i.e. if there are loopholes in the law, and come with suggestions to parliament on what would work in practice.

        In 2013, following a comprehensive review of the UK's current system of political finance regulation, the Commission published a report of its findings, making recommendations to Government to update the law covering political parties and other campaigners. The recommendations included: • Lessen the quarterly reporting requirement for parties that do not receive frequent donations and change the weekly submission of donation reports during election campaign periods to a single pre-election donation report. • Lessen the requirement of submitting a spending return for parties and registered third party actors that have not incurred any election-related spending. • What count as third party election campaign expenses should become more in line with those rules governing political parties, e.g. they should cover, apart from election material, also events, media work and polling. • Improve transparency of candidate finance by making the candidate returns available online, at least for major elections. • Give the Commission investigative powers and sanctions to also deal with for offences relating to candidate-level spending and donations.
        • The criminal offences that relate to essentially administrative requirements should be reframed as purely civil, for example failure to deliver statutory reports on time.

        The Commission also urged the Government to revisit the issues around company donations with regard to donations given from foreign companies through subsidiary companies operating in the UK.

        In terms of increasing transparency in political finance, the Commission’s corporate plan 2014–15 to 2018–19 states that the Commission will, in addition to what it publishes at the moment, also publish: •Weekly reports of donations and borrowing by political parties during the period running up to a UK general election, • Details of expenditure by political parties and campaigners at a UK general election, and • Details of expenditure by referendum campaigners.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree -Despite recent reforms, there are still limits preventing the effective enforcement of campaign finance regulation, as illustrated by a recent case. In 2010 the Electoral Commission conducted an investigation into donations made by a company, Bearwood Corporate Services, to the Conservative Party. The company was controlled by Conservative Lord Ashcroft, a member of the House of Lords and former Conservative Party treasurer.

        There was concern dating from 2008 that Lord Ashcroft's company had made impermissible donations. It was alleged that the company was no longer trading in the UK (making in ineligible to donate), that the source of donations may not be the company itself and that the Conservatives had adequately examined the donations for permissibility as they are required to do in law.

        The Electoral Commission's investigation was concluded in 2010. It cleared Lord Ashcroft, Bearwood Corporate Services and the Conservatives. However, in its report, the Electoral Commission did note that its investigative powers were limited - it did not have access to documents from donors (though Bearwood Corporate Services and Lord Ashcroft voluntarily surrendered documents for the investigators) and also that its investigatory powers were limited to documentary evidence. The report noted in particular that the commission was unable to compel officials of the Conservative party to attend interviews.

        Despite the additional powers granted to the regulator in 2009, the case of Bearwood Corporate Services served to illustrate the limits of the commission to conduct investigations. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the Electoral Commission does have the power to notify the courts and the police of suspected crimes or breaches of regulation. These organisations have greater power to force disclosure of information.

        Moreover, from both the right and the left of British politics there has been vocal criticism of the third party actors to secure political funding.

        The Labour party has been vocal in criticising the Conservatives for its use of "unincorporated associations" for funding. In particular, dining clubs such as the United & Cecil and the Carlton Club have raised several hundred thousand for the Conservatives since 2010, with critics alleging that there is a lack of transparency over the donations.

        The Conservatives have been equally critical of the use of unions by Labour to secure funding. In government the Conservatives introduced the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act to try to limit the abilities of the unions to campaign on behalf of the Labour Party during elections. The legislation also ensures greater scrutiny of third party actors by ensuring more of them are overseen by the Electoral Commission and that they have to submit more transparency documents to the regulator, such as annual accounts.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Bob Posner, Legal Counsel and Head of Enforcement, Party and election finance at the UK Electoral Commission, London, July 31, 2014.

        A regulatory review of the UK’s party and election finance laws: Recommendations for change, Electoral Commission, 2013. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0008/157499/PEF-Regulatory-Review-2013.pdf

        Corporate plan 2014–15 to 2018–19, Electoral Commission, 2014. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0007/167362/2014-15-Corporate-Plan-print-ready-pdf.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, Part 2, 2014. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0097/14097.pdf

        Harriet Harman accuses Tories of relying on 'shady money', The Guardian, 26 Aug 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/26/harriet-harman-accuses-tories-relying-shady-money

        Case summary of Bearwood Corporate Services case, Electoral Commission Dec 2010 http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/_data/assets/pdffile/0009/87219/Case-summary-Bearwood-Corporate-Services.pdf

The United Kingdom has a bicameral parliamentary system, with a Prime Minister as the head of government, and a monarch as the technical head of state. The House of Commons is the lower house of Parliament, and is composed of 650 members, each of which represents a single constituency and is selected on the basis of first-past-the-post voting. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons, and is appointed by the sitting monarch.

In the 2010 election no clear majority government was elected. As such a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the third largest party in the UK, was formed. The prime minister is the Conservative David Cameron, and the Deputy Prime Minister is the Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The Conservative Party won 307 seats in the election, and the Liberal Democrats 57. This gave them a combined majority in parliament with 364 seats of 650. The Labour party formed the opposition with 258 seats.

The House of Lords, the upper house, has 779 members, none of whom are directly elected. Most are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. The House of Lords scrutinises bills proposed by the commons and has the power to amend them. It can only in rare circumstances prevent bills from becoming law, though can delay the passage of a bill to force the House of Commons to reconsider the legislation.

Electoral campaigns are funded and managed by both parties and candidates. In the run up to the last general election in May 2010, parties spent a total of approximately £31.5 million (USD 53.0 million). In the month between the dissolvement of Parliament and voting day, candidate spending amounted to £14.0 million (USD 23.6 million).