Saturday, 14 May 2016

Democracy At Your Expense

Last year I contacted the Electoral Commission about full disclosure of all election expense submissions. Admittedly between 2010 and 2014 the rules had been changed to allow photocopies, but the charges are set by the local authority and can run into a significant amount of expenditure.

Date.....:  30/04.2015
I am a...:  a member of the public
Comment/enquiry type:  candidate/party spending/funding
After the 2010 General Election, I tried to check the election expenses for the local and national campaigns.

This involved me only being able to view them under strict supervision and only allowed to take notes. Photographs and photocopies were banned. I was there for 6 hours.

It would be good for democracy if the submitted election expenses for all election candidates were published and accessible on the internet post elections (EU, GE and local). It shouldn't be a onerous task to scan them.

However, if cost is an issue, the ban on being allowed to photograph or photocopy the submissions would help ensure that they can be scrutinised on a proper basis. It would seem that the current system is designed to make this as difficult as possible.


Thank you for your enquiry.

Please see the last page of this guidance document.

Councils are required to offer copies of candidate spending returns in exchange for a fee.

Councils must by law make the spending returns available for inspection at the council or another location. However there is no provision in law stating that councils can or must publish spending returns online. If you would like a change of law in this area, I suggest you contact your local MP

Maybe the time has come to try this again.

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