Guidance for Charities - Northern Ireland Local Council Elections

Written by Rosie Timoney

With only a few weeks to go until the local council elections, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (the “Commission”) has issued a reminder that it is vital for charities to be politically independent and not party political.

A charity cannot be established for a political purpose, but a charity may engage in political activity or campaigning to achieve its purposes.

The guidance published sets out the requirements which charities must meet if they are to ensure that their political activity or campaigning is permitted under charity law. It is intended to support charities in undertaking this activity effectively while remaining independent and not aligning with a particular political party.

The Commission’s guidance reminds charities that in general:

  • they should be careful of associating, or becoming associated in the minds of the public, with a particular candidate;
  • they must not assist candidates with their election campaigns, financially or otherwise;
  • Individual members of a charity may choose to assist any candidate in a personal capacity, but officers and employees of a charity should not use their position in any campaigning activities in such a way as to suggest that the charity endorses any candidate.

The Commission’s guidance on the issue which can be found at Charities and politics guidance

If you would like any further information or advice, please contact Rosie Timoney from the Charity Law team

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

About the author

Rosie Timoney

Senior Associate

Rosie is a Senior Associate in the Corporate team at Carson McDowell. Rosie has extensive experience of corporate matters, advising clients on the sale and acquisition of companies and businesses, corporate reorganisations and shareholder matters.

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