If you are processing personal data as part of your political campaigning activities, you will need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Personal data includes, but is not limited to, names and addresses from the electoral register, the marked register and of your members. It also includes any information an individual has provided to you or any information you infer about individuals.

If you contact individuals to promote a political view or to otherwise influence them, this is considered direct marketing, which is also regulated by GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Direct marketing includes contact by:

  • post;
  • email;
  • text or similar message;
  • voicemail; and
  • phone or automated calls.

How can I understand more about data protection and electronic marketing law?

If you are new to data protection law, it is important to first read our Guide to Data Protection. This gives an introduction to the rights and obligations under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.

We have also produced comprehensive guidance specifically for political campaigners on how to comply. The guidance is currently in draft and subject to change. However, it follows the law so will be a useful resource prior to the final version being published.

What are my main obligations?

Campaigners who process personal data have a number of obligations. In particular:

Other useful resources

Elected representatives

We have further guidance for elected representatives about their day to day data protection obligations.

Be data aware

We have a range of guidance for members of the public about how political campaigners may use their data to target them with online messages. This includes a downloadable animation that parties can use to help inform individuals.

Paying the data protection fee

On 1 April 2019, the rules around paying the data protection fee changed. Members of the House of Lords, elected representatives and prospective representatives (including police and crime commissioners) are exempt from paying a fee, unless they process personal data for purposes other than the exercise of their functions as a Member of the House of Lords, an elected representative or as a prospective representative. For more information, read our guidance on the data protection fee.