Lobbying Act report

Significant charitable resources are being wasted on complying with the potentially administrative burden of the Lobbying Act, according to research published by consultancy nfpSynergy.

The research found that charities perceive that there is significant risk of breaking the law, as well as significant risk to their reputation, and have therefore made substantial changes to their working practices.

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act, passed in 2014, places limits on political activity by third parties in the run up to an election, and charities have said it may harm their ability to campaign.

It requires charities in England which expect to spend more than £20,000 on political campaigning to register with the Electoral Commission, and thereafter supply the Commission with increased information.

The nfpSynergy report into the effects of the Act was based on in-depth interviews with charity public affairs officers. It found that charities were uncertain about the interpretation of the Act, which they felt to be very vague, but were also extremely reluctant to become a test case for the new legislation.

The report said that the Electoral Commission should take two substantial steps to help charities, which are to redefine the purpose test which explains what charities must intend to do before they are caught by the act, and take steps to proactively reassure small charities.

To download the report visit http://nfpsynergy.net/press-release/lobbying-act-threatening-charities%E2%80%99-resources-and-reputation-new-report-warns.