Charity Commission publishes new guidance on political activity and campaigning by charities in the UK

26 October 2022 | Applicable law: England and Wales

The Charity Commission has published new guidance on political activity and campaigning by charities. This new ‘five minute guide’ summarising the rules should be considered in addition to CC9: Campaigning and political guidance for charities.

This new guidance was launched at the Charity Commission’s annual public meeting earlier this month, where Commission chair Orlando Fraser expressed his expectation that charities should be “part of th[e] conversation” about what is needed from the UK government, and that the law clearly states that “charities are free to campaign and engage in political activity in this way, shining a light on uncomfortable truths, engaging with those in power in the interests of the people and causes they serve”.

However, Fraser highlighted that this ability to campaign is not without limits, and in particular warned charity leaders that it is not their personal voices or opinions, but the interests of their charities, that must be furthered by any political campaigning.

The Commission’s approach to charity campaigning comes against the backdrop of a newly-launched campaign by a coalition of environmental charities, including the National Trust and the RSPB, which has been criticised for being too party political.

Charity trustees should also be alert to changes made to campaigning rules and registration requirements under the Elections Act 2022.

For the full text of Orlando Fraser’s speech, see here.

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