Policy paper

Review of electoral regulation - terms of reference

Terms of Reference and FAQs for the Committee's review into electoral regulation.

Documents

Terms of reference

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Terms of reference FAQs

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Details

Electoral regulation review - Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the Committee’s review into electoral regulation are to:

a. Identify the principles and values that should underpin the regulation of donations and campaign expenditure by candidates, political parties and non-party campaigners in election and referendum campaigns.

b. Examine the Electoral Commission’s remit as a regulator of election finance and associated electoral law. This will include consideration of whether the Electoral Commission requires new powers to allow it to fulfil its role as a robust regulator, including powers to compel the provision of documents by third parties such as social media companies, to require greater transparency on party spending on campaign activity and to protect the electoral process from the influence of foreign players.

c. Examine the enforcement regime for election finance offences committed by candidates, parties and non-party campaigners. The review will examine how the civil sanctions regime interacts with the prosecution regime and consider whether it works effectively as a complete system. This will include consideration of the role of the Electoral Commission, the police and the relevant prosecuting authorities in handling breaches of election finance laws.

d. Consider whether the Electoral Commission should play a role in criminal prosecutions for breaches of election finance laws.

e. Consider whether the Electoral Commission’s civil sanction regime should be expanded to cover the enforcement of candidate finance laws, in addition to its current civil sanctions powers that apply to party and non-party campaigner finance laws, under a single regulatory framework for candidates, parties and non-party campaigners.

Scope

The following areas are within the scope of this inquiry:

a. The regulatory functions and powers of the Electoral Commission.

b. The relevant functions of the police and the relevant prosecuting authorities.

The following issues are outside the scope of this inquiry:

a. Matters relating to the arrangements for funding political parties.

b. Matters relating to the regulation of elections that are devolved, although where applicable, lessons will be learnt from experiences in the devolved administrations.

c. Matters relating to the Electoral Commission’s role in overseeing elections and developing public awareness campaigns.

Published 8 June 2020