Guidance and advice for campaigners at the EU Referendum

Our job is to ensure the smooth running of referendums and a vital part of this is making sure that campaigners can take part as easily as possible, whilst also following the rules that may apply to them.

Today, we published our first set of guidance for the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union poll which aims to provide campaigners with an overview of the rules, as we know them so far. This guidance applies to those organisations considering whether to apply for designated lead status, other campaigning groups, political parties, non-party campaigners  or any other group or individual who wishes to campaign in the run up to the poll.

In our recent readiness statement we highlighted that we are awaiting further provisions that will provide for the effective regulation of campaigners and that we would shortly be publishing our initial guidance for campaigners; this guidance is now available on our website.

The government will commence the provisions in the Act at a later stage and will also make regulations that set out further rules and dates. We do not yet know when the provisions will be commenced or the regulations made, which means that we will be publishing our guidance in stages.

Importantly, until the registration provisions have been commenced campaigners cannot register with us. But in the meantime, our first set of guidance includes:

  • An introduction to a referendum
  • Information on campaigning and registering for the EU Referendum
  • Information on the designation process for the EU Referendum

We know that there will be lots of questions from campaigners about how they can be confident that they are campaigning in accordance with the rules. We’re here to provide practical advice to campaigners and provide reassurance that they can campaign effectively whilst also complying fully with the legislation. We have already met and spoken with a number of groups who are interested in campaigning at the referendum and we will continue to be in regular contact with campaigners both in the run up to, and throughout the referendum period. We are always happy to give prospective campaigners advice on how to comply with the rules. You can contact us on 0333 103 1928 or email

As well as publishing further guidance, we will also continue to issue regular campaigner updates, which offer bite size information on the latest developments, including links to any new guidance. You can sign up to receive these here.

The Commission is working hard to prepare for the referendum, no matter what date it takes place and our full package of guidance will follow soon after the secondary legislation is passed.

Vicky Fox
Head of Guidance, Party and Election Finance

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