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43 sleeps til .... the General Election

After the twists and turns of the Brexit negotiations in Brussels and Parliament, a further extension has been granted and a General Election called. The Prime Minister seeks a mandate to proceed with his Brexit plan, while opposition leaders will present their alternative options to the public.

It may be the ‘Brexit election’, but foundations that wish to influence public policy more widely may find opportunities to do so over the coming weeks. As charities, they should feel free to speak up about the issues at stake, as long as they do not endorse (or fund) political parties or candidates.

The key pieces of guidance on campaigning to see are:

  • For those planning public-facing communications or campaigns during the election period, do check the updated Lobbying Act guidance to see whether you need to register (most won’t).
  • The Charity Commission’s general campaigning guidance (CC9) is applicable at all times, and its complementary guidance on Charities, Elections and Referendums contains more detail on relevant issues such as use of your premises and what to do if a staff member is a candidate.
  • The Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales has also published a blog in anticipation of this election, which says that the Commission will not narrow the space for charity campaigning, but encourages leaders to be mindful about putting their beneficiaries’ needs first: 

Of course, engaging around elections is just one way to influence policy. See the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s excellent ‘social change’ guidance for more ideas.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact Emma Hutchins, Policy and Communications Manager: emma@acf.org.uk

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