Accessing the UK’s Political Finance data is now much easier

The Commission now has a new site for accessing the register of political parties and other regulated organisations. It is where we publish all of the UK’s political finance data; donations, loans, accounts and spending.

The Electoral Commission has developed the new site with Triad Group to replace the search pages in our existing ‘PEF Online’ system.

The old site, which launched in 2011, represented a great leap forward in how political finance data was made available to the public, but unfortunately it wasn’t as user-friendly as is could have been. In the last four years, user expectations have changed and the new site provides simpler and more intuitive ways of finding and displaying data.

The new site has been developed to make the data we hold as accessible as possible. For example, it is now possible to copy and share the specific web address for the page you are looking at. So, if you find an interesting set of results in a donation search and want to share this via Facebook or Twitter the recipients will see exactly what you see. The same applies for every page on the site.

And if the recipients are using a mobile or tablet they will now have a much more user friendly experience. We have simplified the site to remove unnecessary features and have included a single search option that operates more like a search engine. If you still want to perform a more advanced search though, we have retained the search filters.

For those interested in making full use of all the data we hold it is also now possible to download the complete set to work on and analyse off-line. Also, within the next few weeks we will also be making it possible for interested organisations or individuals to incorporate the UK’s political finance data into their own applications (using an API). These tools will provide the highest level of transparency.

We understand that this isn’t necessarily the best time to be making changes to how the registers are accessed, so we will continue to maintain the old PEF Online site and run the new site in parallel as a beta. We will continue to do this for several months, well after the election in May. During this time we can make improvements to the new site, so please have a look. We welcome your feedback which can be provided easily using the link in the new site’s header.

Andrew Cook, Senior Systems Officer

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