About us

The Certification Officer is responsible for statutory functions relating to trade unions and employers’ associations.

Who we are

The Certification Officer (CO) is supported by 8 staff in London and a part-time Assistant Certification Officer (Scotland) in Edinburgh.

Our responsibilities

The Certification Officer’s responsibilities are to:

  • maintain a list of trade unions and employers’ associations
  • ensure compliance with statutory requirements for annual returns from trade unions and employers’ associations, and keeping them available for public inspection
  • determine complaints concerning trade union elections, certain other ballots and certain breaches of trade union rules
  • ensuring observance of statutory requirements governing mergers between trade unions and between employers’ associations
  • oversee the political funds and the finances of trade unions and employers’ associations
  • certify the independence of trade unions
  • act as the ‘prescribed person’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Regulations 2014, so that workers or employees of trade unions and employers associations are protected if they report fraud or financial irregularities (whistleblowing) to the CO (Whistleblowing: list of prescribed people and bodies)

Our decisions

View our decisions by category:

Our priorities

The Certification Officer’s priorities are to:

  • ensure all its functions are carried out as efficiently, as economically, as fairly and as far as possible in accordance with the Government’s administrative strategy
  • work with Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to ensure that the new obligations on trade unions and powers for the CO contained in the Trade Union Act 2016 are brought in effectively in 2017 and 2018.