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Guide to the Rules on All-Party Parliamentary Groups
Published March 2015 and slightly revised May 2017

This Guide sets out the requirements which applied to all All-Party Parliamentary Groups in the 2015 Parliament. It will apply in the 2017 Parliament until further notice.

See the APPG page of the parliamentary website for the Register of APPGs, the Registration Form for APPGs, and this Guide to the Rules on APPGs, the forms for registering an Annual General Meeting, and other guidance.

Document owner: Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, based on approval by the Standards Committee on 24 February 2015

Date of document:24 February 2015 (updated with additional footnotes on 4 May 2017)

Advice and further information is available from:

Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

House of Commons

London SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 0401

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.parliament.uk/pcs or www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/

Contents

Guide to the Rules on All-Party Parliamentary Groups
Published March 2015 and slightly revised May 2017

Introduction

Definition of an All-Party Parliamentary Group

Unregistered cross party groups

MPs and Peers: Codes of Conduct and registering benefits

MPs’ staff and Peers’ staff: registering benefits

Allegations that the rules have been broken

Key requirements for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

Making and maintaining a Register entry

Admitting members and electing officers

Holding meetings

Maintaining transparency

Information to be shown on reports and other publications

Sources of funding

Portcullis emblem

Record keeping

Financial records

APPG secretariats and contact points

If a Group breaks the rules

Appendix 1: Register entries for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

How the Register is maintained

Information to be registered

Benefits in kind

Overseas visits

Timeliness of registration

Benefits which individuals must also register

Unregistered Groups

Appendix 2: Income and Expenditure Statements for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

When income and expenditure statements are required

Steps to publishing income and expenditure statements

Information to be provided

Overlap with registration

Groups which submit accounts to external bodies

Template for income and expenditure statement for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

Appendix 3: APPGs and non-party campaigning rules

Guidance from the Electoral Commission

APPGs and non-party campaigning rules

Appendix 4: Rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups, as agreed by the House of Commons on 13 May 2014

Introduction

1. This Guide sets out the rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), as approved in outline by the House on 13 May 2014 and in detail by the Standards Committee on 24 February 2015, and published under the authority of that Committee. The Guide therefore carries the authority of the House. The Appendices provide further information as follows:

  • Appendix 1: Register entries for All-Party Parliamentary Groups;
  • Appendix 2: Income and Expenditure Statements for All-Party Parliamentary Groups;
  • Appendix 3: APPGs and non-party campaigning rules;
  • Appendix 4: Rules on All-Party Parliamentary Groups, as agreed by the House of Commons on 13 May 2014.

2. The Guide will from time to time be revised and updated, in accordance with the authority which the House of Commons on 13 May 2014 delegated to the Standards Committee. This allows that Committee to make such minor changes as are needed to ensure the effective operation of the Register and the regulatory regime.

3. Each Group’s Chair and Registered Contact, who must be a Member of the House of Commons, is responsible for ensuring that the group complies with the rules of the House, and that if any person or organisation provides a secretariat or support services, that person or organisation is aware of and complies with those rules.

Definition of an All-Party Parliamentary Group

4. An All-Party Parliamentary Group consists of Members of both Houses who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest. In order to use the title All-Party Parliamentary Group, a group must be open to all Members of both Houses, regardless of party affiliation, and must satisfy the rules set out in paragraphs 14 to 36 below. The Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, which is maintained by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, is a definitive list of such groups. It contains the financial and other information about groups which the House has decided should be published. The Register is published on the parliamentary website and updated approximately every six weeks.

5. All-Party Parliamentary Groups cover a diverse range of subjects and are established for a rich variety of purposes. They provide a valuable opportunity for parliamentarians to engage with individuals and organisations outside Parliament who share an interest in the subject matter of their group. They are not however official parliamentary bodies, and groups must avoid presenting themselves in a way which leads to their being confused with select committees.

Unregistered cross party groups

6. Cross-party groups which do not satisfy the rules on APPGs (as set out in paragraphs 14 to 36 below) are not registered. Members of such groups, and those which choose not to be registered, are responsible for registering benefits which they receive from or through the group, in accordance with the rules of the relevant House. In addition, a Member of the House of Commons who chairs such a group must list in his or her own entry in the Members’ Register any benefits received by the group in the last twelve months, subject to rules and the financial thresholds applying to that Register, as if they were received by him or her.

7. Unregistered cross-party groups are not permitted to use the crowned portcullis in any form, or to use the terms “All-Party”, or “parliamentary” in their name. They have a lower priority than registered groups when booking meeting rooms on the parliamentary estate.

MPs and Peers: Codes of Conduct and registering benefits

8. When engaged in activities as part of or in connection with an All-Party Parliamentary Group, MPs and Peers are subject to the Code of Conduct approved by their House and are expected to have regard to its requirements. In particular, they must observe the prohibition on paid advocacy. They must also record in the appropriate Register of Interests (subject to the financial thresholds applying to that Register) any benefit (such as hospitality, gifts or overseas visits) that comes to them because they are a member of an All-Party Parliamentary Group.

9. MPs and Peers should not however list in their own Register entry any staff member employed by the group unless, in addition for their work for the group, the staff member contributes to the Member’s parliamentary work, and the value of this contribution exceeds the relevant threshold.

10. MPs and Peers should also bear in mind that, as well as registering their interests, they are required to disclose interests, either orally or in writing, in accordance with the appropriate Guide to the Rules, at the time when it is relevant. This requirement covers almost every aspect of their parliamentary duties, including their activity as part of or in connection with an All-Party Parliamentary Group. They must therefore disclose to the group at the time (and to others, as necessary) any interest which meets the test of relevance. 1

MPs’ staff and Peers’ staff: registering benefits

11. MPs’ and Peers’ staff who have a parliamentary security pass must record in the appropriate Staff Register any benefit which they themselves receive from, or because of their association with, an All-Party Parliamentary Group, subject to the financial thresholds applying to that Register.

Allegations that the rules have been broken

12. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (and, in the Lords, the Lords Commissioner for Standards) may investigate allegations of a breach of the relevant Code of Conduct and the associated rules. The Commissioner may report to the Committee on Standards (and, in the Lords, the Lords Commissioner may report to the Subcommittee on Lords Conduct of the Committee for Privileges and Conduct) any findings from such an investigation. There are separate arrangements for investigations by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards into allegations of breaches of the rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These are explained in paragraphs 33 to 36 below.

Key requirements for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

13. Groups must follow the rules set out below on the following:

  • Making and maintaining a Register entry (paragraphs 15-17, and Appendix 1)
  • Admitting members and electing officers (paragraphs 18-19)
  • Holding meetings (paragraph 20)
  • Maintaining transparency (paragraphs 21-32, and Appendices 1 and 2)

Groups are also expected to observe the legal restrictions on non-party campaigning. These are explained in the note from the Electoral Commission at Appendix 3.

14. Inclusion in the Register is conditional upon compliance with these requirements. The Registrar has discretion to remove a group from the Register until satisfied that it has taken all necessary steps to comply. In addition, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards may investigate allegations that a group has broken the rules of the House. Paragraphs 33 to 36 of this Guide provide further details.

Making and maintaining a Register entry

15. Any new group must make a Register entry within 28 days of its inaugural election.

16. After a General Election, any group which was registered at the end of the previous Parliament will be deemed to continue for two months from the date of the Election, unless it has notified the Parliamentary Commissioner’s office that it has dissolved. It must however hold an inaugural meeting at which officers are elected (or re-elected), and it must make a register entry within 28 days of that meeting and no later than two months after the General Election. This must be done in accordance with the detailed rules about registration at Appendix 1, which also explains how the entry is to be made and updated.

17. All groups must keep their register entry up to date, submitting details of any registrable change within 28 days of that change. Each group must register the following key information.

a. The group’s name;

b. The group’s statement of purpose;

c. The category into which the group falls (e.g. country or subject group, or club);

d. The date of the group’s inaugural election of officers in the Parliament. This is normally the group’s first formal meeting in the Parliament, and will normally be the first day of its reporting year;

e. The name and party affiliation of each of the group’s officers, and the post they hold;

f. The contact details of the group’s Chair (who is also its Registered Contact);

g. The name and details of a public enquiry point (which need not be within Parliament) if the group has one;

h. The name and details (including the web address) of any external organisation providing the group’s secretariat (if these services are of registrable value);

i. The group’s web address (if it has one);

j. The start date of the group’s reporting year (from which we will calculate the end of its reporting year and its next reporting deadline);

k. Whether the group has published (or made available) an income and expenditure statement in respect of the previous reporting year;

l. Whether the group submits accounts to an external body;

m. Details of any benefits (whether financial or in kind) which the group has received from any source other than Parliament, or from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if the total value of the benefits from that source exceeded £1,500 in the calendar year.

Admitting members and electing officers

18. Groups must observe the following rules about membership:

a. Groups must be open to all Members of both Houses;

b. Groups may charge parliamentarians an annual subscription;

c. All parliamentarians may vote at any meeting of the group;

d. Groups may include non-parliamentarians as external members, and may charge them a subscription or membership fee, but they must not have voting rights.

See also paragraph 21 on maintaining a list of current members of the group.

19. Officers must be elected as follows:

a. The group must have at least four officers;

b. Each of the group’s officers must be either an MP or Peer and must be elected at a General Meeting of the group (see paragraph 20(c) to (f));

c. At least two of the group’s officers (including the Chair, who must also be the group’s Registered Contact), must be MPs;

d. At least one officer must be from the government party or parties and at least one from the main opposition party;

e. Groups may appoint Peers to any position (including co-chair)–except for that of Chair and Registered Contact.

Holding meetings

20. Groups must comply with the following rules about meetings:

a. Each group must meet at least twice during its reporting year;2

b. One of these meetings must be an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a meeting which involves an inaugural election of officers;

c. Formal meetings of the group3 must be advertised (normally at least one week in advance) in the All-Party Notices4, together with details of a parliamentary contact for the group and a list of any external speakers;

d. The quorum for a formal meeting of the group is five Members of either House;

e. Annual General Meetings must take place on the parliamentary estate and when both Houses are sitting. They must be advertised (normally at least one week in advance) on the All-Party Notices, which must provide details of a parliamentary contact for the group and list any external speakers.5 In addition, at least five Members of either House, including at least one MP, must be present at an AGM.

There are two standard items of business for an AGM: the election of officers, and the approval of an income and expenditure statement for publication (if the group is required to produce one for the previous reporting year (see paragraphs 28 and 29 below and Appendix 2). Within 28 days of the meeting, and in any case no later than four months from the end of the group’s reporting year, the group must register the outcome of the election and (if an income and expenditure statement is required) that it has approved and published (or made available) that statement.6

f. Other elections of officers If there is a need to elect officers other than at an Annual General Meeting (AGM); for example, at the group’s inaugural meeting, or to fill a vacancy or create a new role, a formal Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) must be held, on the parliamentary estate, and when both Houses are sitting. If the group needs to elect a replacement for one of the four officers required by the House,7 the election must be held within 28 sitting days of the vacancy arising.8 The elections must be advertised (normally at least one week in advance) on the All-Party Notices, which must provide details of a parliamentary contact for the group and list any external speakers. In addition, at least five Members of either House, including at least one MP, must be present at the election. The group must register the outcome of any election within 28 days of it taking place.

Maintaining transparency

21. Groups must be transparent about their nature, membership and funding. In particular, they must avoid presenting themselves in a way which could lead to confusion with Select Committees. They must make full disclosures of any support received for their publications. An APPG must:

a. use the group’s full registered name, including the term ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group’, 9 in all its communications. This helps distinguish registered groups from unregistered groups and from other bodies such as select committees;

b. publish details of its formal10 meetings in advance, on the All-Party Notices, along with the names of any external speakers and details of a parliamentary contact;

c. publish on its website (or provide on request11) the following information:

i. a list of active12 members (both parliamentary and external);

ii. dates of meetings, both past and future;

iii. minutes of past formal13 meetings (which should record both attendance and decisions);

iv. any reports or other publications issued;

v. income and expenditure statements (if required: see paragraphs 28 and 29 below).

This information must be retained on the group’s website (or retained so that it can be provided on request) for at least five years. There is no obligation to retain the records after that point unless an external body such as HMRC requires it.

Information to be shown on reports and other publications

22. If a report or other publication has been compiled or funded by any external individual or organisation, this should be made clear on the front cover (or equivalent14) through wording such as: “This Report was researched by xxx and funded by xxx.” The requirements in paragraphs 23 to 24 below do not however apply to income and expenditure statements.

23. All APPG reports and publications should also bear the following disclaimer on the front cover (or equivalent15):

“This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this report are those of the group.”

24. A group’s website and its social media feed (if any) must give the contact details for the group’s chair, and secretariat and/or public enquiry point (if it has one). All such websites and media feeds must carry a disclaimer as follows:

“This is not an official website [or feed] of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the group.”

Sources of funding

25. An APPG must identify sources of external funding on its headed paper; or must include on it a link to the Register or to a website where those sources are listed.

Portcullis emblem

26. APPGs who wish to use the crowned portcullis must use the bespoke APPG portcullis emblem, which is available from [email protected] (020 7219 6208). Unregistered groups must not use the crowned portcullis in any form.

Record keeping

27. Each group must keep the following records.

a. lists of active members (both parliamentary and external);16

b. dates of meetings, both past and future;

c. minutes of past formal17 meetings (which should record both attendance and decisions);

d. any reports or other publications issued;

e. income and expenditure statements (if required: see paragraphs 28 and 29 below).

This information must be retained on the group’s website (or retained so that it can be provided on request18) for at least five years. There is no obligation to retain the records after that point unless an external body such as HMRC requires it.

Financial records

28. A group which has received over £12,500 from outside Parliament, in money or in kind, in its reporting year19 must undertake the following actions. This does not apply in respect of reporting periods ending before 7 May 2016, unless the group ceases to exist.

a. Complete an income and expenditure statement, in accordance with the requirements at Appendix 2; and

b. Arrange to have this approved at its AGM (or, if not possible, at another General Meeting);

c. Publish20 the approved statement on the website within 28 days of its approval and within four months of the end of the relevant reporting year; and

d. Publish21 a closing income and expenditure statement, approved by the officers of the group, within four months of the end of a Parliament – or within four months of the group’s decision to cease to exist. Detailed instructions are at Appendix 2;

29. If the group is required to submit its accounts to an external regulatory body (such as a Charity Commission or Companies House) the group may either:

  • prepare an income and expenditure statement following the template at Appendix 2, in accordance with the rules above; or
  • publish22 on its website the accounts which it already submits to the external body. In that event the accounts must distinguish the elements of income and expenditure which are set out in the template,23 and the accounts must be published within the timetable for submission which has been set by the external body.

APPG secretariats and contact points

30. Each group must list in its Register entry any external organisation acting as its secretariat, if these services are of registrable value, and its designated secondary enquiry point for the public, if it has one. This enquiry point need not be within Parliament.

31. If an external donor funds another person or organisation to provide, for example, a secretariat or other administrative or support services, and the value exceeds the registrable threshold, that group must explain this in the Benefits section of its register entry.

32. Each group’s Chair and Registered Contact is responsible for ensuring if any person or organisation provides a secretariat or support services, that person or organisation is aware of and complies with the rules of the House. In particular, if a consultancy provides such services, and the value of those services exceeds the threshold for registration, it must be prepared to disclose information about its clients; if a charity or other not for profit organisation provides such services, it must be prepared to disclose information about its donors. The organisation providing the services must either publish this information online as a matter of routine or make it available within 28 days if any person or organisation asks them to do so. The information which must be made available is as follows:

a. If a consultancy provides a secretariat or support services whose value exceeds the threshold for registration: a list of any commercial organisations who were clients of the consultancy during the preceding twelve months; or, if providing the information on request, during the twelve months immediately before the month in which the request was made.

b. If a charity or other not-for-profit organisation provides a secretariat or support services whose value exceeds the threshold for registration: a list of any commercial organisation(s) from which the organisation has received donation(s) of more than £5,000 in total during the preceding twelve months; or, if providing the information on request, during the twelve months immediately before the month in which the request was made.

If a Group breaks the rules

33. The Registrar has discretion to remove a group from the Register until it complies with the registration rules (paragraph 14 of this Guide refers).

34. Anyone who wishes to make a formal complaint about an APPG should write to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. The Commissioner may investigate a complaint which concerns an alleged breach of the rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups, if it is supported by sufficient evidence of such a breach.

35. If the Commissioner conducts an investigation, he/she will follow the procedures set out in her Information Note, available on her webpages at www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-interests/pcfs. The Commissioner will normally seek evidence from the Chair and Registered Contact, and from anyone else concerned. The Commissioner may report to the Standards Committee any findings from such an investigation.

36. Members are expected to co-operate with any inquiry into a complaint about an APPG, as are any staff or secretariat employed or retained by the group.

Appendix 1: Register entries for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

This Appendix explains how the Register works. It also sets out the detailed rules on registration.

How the Register is maintained

1. The Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups is a definitive list of All-Party Parliamentary Groups. It contains the financial and other information about groups which the House has decided should be published in the Register.

2. The Register is maintained by the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and published on the APPG pages of the parliamentary website: http://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/.

3. From May 2015, past editions of the Register will remain on the parliamentary website, so that the history of each group’s arrangements can be seen. In addition, benefits will remain on a group’s register entry for 12 months after they ceased or 12 months after the registration date (if that is later).

4. It is for each group to update its own Register entry. The Chair and Registered Contact is responsible for this and for ensuring the group’s compliance with the rules of the House. Forms for registering and updating a group’s entry are available on the APPG pages of the parliamentary website: www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/apg/. It is planned to introduce a portal for registration by Chairs during the 2015 parliament.

Information to be registered

5. Each group must register the following information:

a. The group’s name, which must include the words All-Party Parliamentary Group, and must explain the focus of the group succinctly;24

b. The group’s statement of purpose, in no more than 50 words;

c. The category into which the group falls (eg country or subject group, or club). A country group is one which focuses on a particular country, area or region outside the UK; a subject group focuses on a particular topic or issue, and a club is mainly social in purpose;

d. The date of the group’s inaugural election of officers in the current Parliament. This is normally the group’s first formal meeting in that Parliament, and will normally be the first day of the group’s reporting year;

e. The name and party affiliation of each of the group’s officers, and the post they hold, in accordance with the following rules:

  • The group must have at least four officers;
  • Each of the group’s officers must be either an MP or Peer and must be elected at a General Meeting of the group (see paragraph 20(c) to (f) of the Guide to the Rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups;
  • At least one officer must be from the government party or parties and at least one from the main opposition party;
  • At least two of the group’s officers (including the Chair, who must also be the group’s Registered Contact), must be MPs;
  • Groups may appoint Peers to any position (including co-chair) except that of Chair and Registered Contact.

f. The parliamentary or constituency contact details of the MP who is the group’s Chair and Registered Contact;

g. The name and details of a public enquiry point (if the Group has one), and of any external organisation acting as the group’s secretariat (if these services are of registrable value in the calendar year), together with its website. Enquiries will be directed to the public enquiry point, if named in the Register. The public enquiry point need not be within Parliament;

h. The group’s web address (if it has one);

i. The start date of the group’s reporting year, which will normally be the date of the group’s Inaugural Election of Officers in this Parliament and will normally remain unchanged throughout the Parliament. From this we will calculate the end date of the reporting year (which will be one year later, less one day) and the group’s reporting deadline, which will be four months from the end date;25

j. Whether the group has published (or made available) an income and expenditure statement in respect of the previous reporting year. A statement is required of any group which receives more than £12,500 from outside Parliament in its reporting year. Such statements must be approved at a general meeting (normally an AGM) of the group before publication. NB while groups are encouraged to prepare income and expenditure statements, these are not required for any reporting period ending before 7 May 2016, unless the group ceases to exist;

k. Whether the group submits accounts to an external body;

l. Details of any benefits received (whether financial or in kind) by the group from sources other than Parliament, if the total value of the benefit from that source exceeded £1,500 in the calendar year. The information to be provided is:

  • The name of the donor (and that of any third party who ultimately funded the benefit);
  • The date(s) when the benefit was received (see also paragraph 13 to 15 below);
  • For financial benefits: the value, in £. A financial benefit involves a transfer of money to the group;
  • For benefits in kind: their nature and value (in a £1,500 band). A benefit in kind involves the donor giving goods or services to the Group, or paying for these on the Group’s behalf. Further notes on benefits in kind are set out below, together with a table of £1,500 bands.

Benefits in kind

Benefits in kind may include:

  • one-off benefits such as overseas visits, hospitality, event or travel tickets, receptions or other events, clothing, jewellery or discount cards, loans or discounts; and/or
  • benefits provided to the group over a period of time, such as for example, research, administrative, secretarial or web support; regular office cleaning, contributions to preparing, printing or publishing reports; subscriptions or memberships. Paragraph 15 below explains how to register these.

Groups must not register as a benefit any goods or services purchased from their own resources.

When registering staff services, the value given in the Register should be based wherever possible upon the full costs met by the employer, including accommodation, pensions contributions and other costs for which figures are available, and based on hours worked.

Groups are not required to register services provided by volunteers who donate their own services.

A group which has already registered benefits amounting to over £1,500 in a calendar year from a particular source must register separately any further benefits from that source if they exceed £1,500 in value.

To assist the registration process, the table below sets out the £1,500 bands into which benefits are likely to fall.

Value (in bands of £1500) to be used when registering the value of a benefit in kind

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

1,501

3,000

21,001

22,500

40,501

42,000

60,001

61,500

79,501

81,000

3,001

4,500

22,501

24,000

42,001

43,500

61,501

63,000

81,001

82,500

4,501

6,000

24,001

25,500

43,501

45,000

63,001

64,500

82,501

84,000

6,001

7,500

25,501

27,000

45,001

46,500

64,501

66,000

84,001

85,500

7,501

9,000

27,001

28,500

46,501

48,000

66,001

67,500

85,501

87,000

9,001

10,500

28,501

30,000

48,001

49,500

67,501

69,000

87,001

88,500

10,501

12,000

30,001

31,500

49,501

51,000

69,001

70,500

88,501

90,000

12,001

13,500

31,501

33,000

51,001

52,500

70,501

72,000

90,001

91,500

13,501

15,000

33,001

34,500

52,501

54,000

72,001

73,500

91,501

93,000

15,001

16,500

34,501

36,000

54,001

55,500

73,501

75,000

93,001

94,500

16,501

18,000

36,001

37,500

55,501

57,000

75,001

76,500

94,501

96,000

18,001

19,500

37,501

39,000

57,001

58,500

76,501

78,000

96,001

97,500

19,501

21,000

39,001

40,500

58,501

60,000

78,001

79,500

97,501

99,000

Overseas visits

Groups must not register

  • visits undertaken on behalf of, or funded by: HM Government, or by Parliament, or by an international organisation to which the United Kingdom Government belongs, such as the EU or a political group of the European Parliament;
  • visits undertaken on behalf of or under the auspices of:
    • the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association;
    • the Inter-Parliamentary Union:
    • the British American Parliamentary Group:
    • the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly:
    • the Council of Europe:
    • the Western European Union:
    • the Westminster Foundation for Democracy:
    • the NATO parliamentary assembly, or
    • the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

Nevertheless, groups which prepare income and expenditure statements must include in those statements any benefits in money or in kind from these organisations, except only for benefits funded by Parliament or by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority which should not be included. See also paragraph 14 below on the timeliness of registering visits.

Timeliness of registration

13. Groups must register any changes to the information in their Register entry within 28 days of that change occurring.

14. In particular, overseas visits must be registered within 28 days of the last day of the visit.

15. Other ongoing benefits (if they require registration) must be registered within 28 days of the first day when the benefit was provided; for example within 28 days of the date when a secretariat began. In such cases, the group must register both the date when the benefit began and its expected end date. The group must then update the Register within 28 days of any change to this information. If, at the time of registration, the end date of the benefit is unknown or uncertain, the group must give an end date of 31 December, and must update the Register as appropriate at the end of the year, or earlier if required.

Benefits which individuals must also register

16. Parliamentarians must record in the appropriate Register of Interests (subject to the rules and financial thresholds applying to that Register) any benefit (for example hospitality, gifts or overseas visits) received because they are an officer or member of an All-Party Parliamentary Group. Similarly, anyone who holds a parliamentary pass and is employed by an MP or peer may need to record in the appropriate Staff Register any benefit (such as hospitality, gifts or overseas visits) received from or because of their association with an All-Party Parliamentary Group. (Paragraphs 8 to 11 of the Guide to the Rules on All-Party Parliamentary Groups explains.)

Unregistered Groups

17. The Chair of an unregistered cross-party group, if a member of the House of Commons, is responsible for registering the group’s interests. This is in addition to the requirement for individual Members to register benefits which they receive from or through the group, in accordance with the rules of the relevant House. (Paragraph 6 of the Guide to the Rules on All-Party Parliamentary Groups explains the requirement.)

Appendix 2: Income and Expenditure Statements for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

1. Any group which is registered in the 2015 Parliament26 and which receives more than £12,500 in money or in kind from outside Parliament in its reporting year27 must establish arrangements to record and account for income and expenditure. This Appendix sets out what is required.

2. Benefits are received from outside Parliament if they are not given by one or both Houses, or by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

When income and expenditure statements are required

3. Any group which received over £12,500 in that reporting year must publish28 a closing income and expenditure statement, approved by the officers of the group, within 28 days of its approval and within four months from the end of the relevant reporting year.

4. At the end of the Parliament, or earlier if the group ceases to exist, any group which received over £12,500 in either the reporting year then current, or in the most recently finished reporting year, must also publish29 a closing income and expenditure statement, approved by the officers of the group. The statement must be published within four months of the end of the Parliament, or within four months of the date when the group agreed to cease to exist. 30

Steps to publishing income and expenditure statements

5. Any Group which meets the criteria in paragraphs 3 and 4 above must

a) Complete an income and expenditure statement, in accordance with the template below; and

b) Arrange to have this approved at its AGM,31 and

c) Publish32 the approved statement on the website within 28 days of its AGM, and within four months of the end of the relevant reporting year.

Information to be provided

6. When a group completes an income and expenditure statement, it must reflect in it all income and benefits received, and all expenditure, in the relevant reporting period. There is no exemption for items which do not require registration, except that groups must not list any benefits provided by or derived from Parliament (eg the use of meeting rooms, stationery or IT facilities); or benefits derived from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) (eg the use of staff time or facilities in a constituency office).

7. The form at Appendix 2 sets out the minimum detail required. A statement which provides less detail than this is unlikely to be acceptable. On the other hand, groups may provide more detail if they wish. For example, accruals accounting is not required and it is expected that in most cases the statement will be completed on a money-in, money-out basis. But a group is free if it so wishes to prepare its statement on an accruals basis.

Overlap with registration

8. Submission of income and expenditure statements does not remove the overlapping responsibility for registration. Groups are still required to register, within 28 days, any benefits with a value of over £1,500 which they receive from a single source outside Parliament in the calendar year. And individually, MPs and Peers and their staff are still required to register, in accordance with the requirements of that House, certain benefits which they have received through their membership of an All-Party Parliamentary Group. The relevant Guides to the Rules explain the requirement.

Groups which submit accounts to external bodies

9. If the group is required to submit its accounts to an external regulatory body (such as a charity commission or Companies House), it must either:

  • prepare an income and expenditure statement, in accordance with the rules set out in this Appendix; or
  • publish33 on its website the accounts which it already submits to the external body. In that event the accounts must distinguish the elements of income and expenditure which are set out in the template,34 and the accounts must be published within the timetable for submission which has been set by the external body.

Template for income and expenditure statement for All-Party Parliamentary Groups

Notes on how to complete the income and expenditure statement

B Income received during the year

Please enter a value in each box, even if it is zero. Include in these figures all money received, however small the sum, and even if it is from sources which would not require registration.

B i. Use this line to record the total membership income from MPs and peers. There is no need to itemise individual receipts. Groups are encouraged to name donors but are not required to do so.

B ii. Use this line to record the total value of any other donations or gifts received by the group, including any membership income from people who are not at the time MPs or peers. Groups are encouraged to name donors but are not required to do so.

B iii. Use this line to record the total income arising from activities by the group during the year. This might include income from the sales of publications, or from ticket sales for conferences or concerts. Do not make any deductions for the costs of generating this income.

B iv. Include here the total amount of any interest received during the year, for example from bank accounts or investments.

B v. Any other incoming money should be included in this line, with a brief explanation.

C Expenditure during the year

C i. Use this line to record the total spent during the year on any staff directly employed by the group or its officers. Costs should be full costs, including wherever possible pensions, NI and expenses, and (if relevant) any money spent on staff accommodation. There is no need to name individuals or to itemise individual payments unless the group wishes to do so.

C ii. Use this line to record the total of any payments (including fees, reimbursement of expenses and honoraria) made during the year to organisations or individuals (other than those directly employed by the group or its officers) in return for services provided. There is no need to name individuals or to itemise individual payments unless the group wishes to do so.

C iii. Use this line to record the total spent during the year on organising or attending any UK visits or events, unless these amounted to fundraising activity. Include money spent on travel for Members or anyone accompanying the group, unless already included in C (i) or (ii) above. There is no need to name individuals or to itemise individual payments unless the group wishes to do so.

C iv. Use this line to record the total spent during the year on any overseas visits organised or attended by the group, unless these amounted to fundraising activity. Include money spent on travel for Members or anyone accompanying the group, unless already included in C (i) or (ii) above. There is no need to name individuals or to itemise individual payments unless the group wishes to do so.

C v. Use this line to record the total spent during the year on generating any income recorded under B (iii) above, eg the costs of concerts, conferences, publications etc. There is no need to show the costs of particular events or publications unless the group wishes to do so.

C vi. Use this line to record the total spent during the year on office, communications or running costs, for example office supplies, insurance, data protection registration, governance, audit or financial costs; web or publishing costs; PR; advertising, IS/IT services, telephones, printing , postage etc. There is no need to itemise individual payments unless the group wishes to do so.

C vii. Any other money spent should be included in this line, with a brief explanation. There is no need to itemise individual payments unless the group wishes to do so.

E Benefits in kind

Benefits in kind would include (but are not limited to) the transfer of goods or services such as hospitality, visits, clothing, secretariat or administrative services, research or the use of office premises. If the transfer of funds is involved, the benefit is a financial one and should be included in Section B of the spreadsheet.

Using a different line for each donor, please set out, with a brief description of what was received, any benefits in kind the group has received during the reporting year. Assign the total value of the benefits received from each donor during the year to a band of £1,500 (eg up to £1,500; £1,501-£3,000; £3,001 to £4,500 etc). 35

You are encouraged to name donors but are not required to do so. If you wish not to name donors, you may simply assign a number to each.

You are not required to list benefits in kind if the total value of the benefits in kind received from that donor in the reporting year was £100 or less.

When listing staff services, such as secretariat services, you should assess their value wherever possible based on the full costs met by the employer, taking account of upon hours worked and including accommodation, pensions contributions and other costs for which figures are available.

Include benefits in kind even if the group is not required to register them, such as any overseas visits funded by non-registrable sources. The only exception is for benefits provided by Parliament or the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. These should not be listed here.

Bands above £1,500 are set out below.

Value (in bands of £1,500)

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

FROM

TO

1,501

3,000

21,001

22,500

40,501

42,000

60,001

61,500

79,501

81,000

3,001

4,500

22,501

24,000

42,001

43,500

61,501

63,000

81,001

82,500

4,501

6,000

24,001

25,500

43,501

45,000

63,001

64,500

82,501

84,000

6,001

7,500

25,501

27,000

45,001

46,500

64,501

66,000

84,001

85,500

7,501

9,000

27,001

28,500

46,501

48,000

66,001

67,500

85,501

87,000

9,001

10,500

28,501

30,000

48,001

49,500

67,501

69,000

87,001

88,500

10,501

12,000

30,001

31,500

49,501

51,000

69,001

70,500

88,501

90,000

12,001

13,500

31,501

33,000

51,001

52,500

70,501

72,000

90,001

91,500

13,501

15,000

33,001

34,500

52,501

54,000

72,001

73,500

91,501

93,000

15,001

16,500

34,501

36,000

54,001

55,500

73,501

75,000

93,001

94,500

16,501

18,000

36,001

37,500

55,501

57,000

75,001

76,500

94,501

96,000

18,001

19,500

37,501

39,000

57,001

58,500

76,501

78,000

96,001

97,500

19,501

21,000

39,001

40,500

58,501

60,000

78,001

79,500

97,501

99,000

Appendix 3: APPGs and non-party campaigning rules

Guidance from the Electoral Commission

APPGs and non-party campaigning rules

1. The rules for non-party campaigners in the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) have been changed by the Transparency of Lobbying, Non Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014. The Electoral Commission considers that it is unlikely that the activities of APPGs (or any organisations providing a secretariat function to support their work) will fall within the scope of the new rules. However, it is possible that in some specific cases they may do so. An update on this is provided by the Commission, below.

2. Following enquiries about the impact of the new rules the Electoral Commission has advised that it is possible that in some specific cases, the activities of some APPGs could fall within the updated PPERA rules on non-party campaigning. There is no specific exemption in the legislation for the work of APPGs. If an APPG activity met the test for regulation and it spent money above the registration financial threshold, the APPG would fall within this regulatory regime; but in our judgement, the risk of that is small.

3. The non-party campaigner rules regulate spending (above stipulated financial thresholds) on certain campaigning activities that can be seen as intended to influence voters to vote for or against political parties or categories of candidates, including political parties or candidates who support or oppose particular policies or issues. APPGs work on a cross-party basis and do not intend to directly influence support for a particular party. However, the legislation provides that this test can be met even if the intention is to achieve something else, such as raising awareness of an issue. The activity may also be regarded as intended to influence voters when a political party or group of candidates is not named. Where an APPG focuses on a particular policy that is publicly and closely associated with a party or parties or a category of candidate, under the Act it may reasonably be regarded as supporting that party, parties or category of candidates. In such cases money spent on certain campaigning activities may be regulated by the Electoral Commission.

4. If an APPG intends to spend more than £20,000 in England or £10,000 in any of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland on campaigning activities during a regulated period and those activities could reasonably be regarded as intended to influence people’s voting choice, then it must register with the Commission and comply with the rules on spending and donations. The regulated period is the time when the spending limits and rules apply. For the UK Parliamentary general election due to be held in 2015, the regulated period started on 19 September 2014 and will end on polling day, which is expected to be 7 May 2015.36 The list of regulated activities is set out in Schedule 8A of the Act. If an APPG did meet these criteria it would need to register with the Electoral Commission.

Given this, it is important that, when planning any activity during the regulated period each group considers whether they may fall within the new rules. APPGs and their secretariats can contact the Electoral Commission directly for advice if they need help to do this.

The Commission has published a full suite of guidance which is available on its website here:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/party-or-campaigner/non-party-campaigners.

You may also contact the Commission for advice via 020 7271 0616 or by email: [email protected].

Appendix 4: Rules for All-Party Parliamentary Groups, as agreed by the House of Commons on 13 May 2014

Benefits of registration

All-Party Parliamentary Groups are groups of parliamentarians who share particular interests, and have chosen to abide by the rules relating to the registration of APPGs and declaration of their interests. The advantages of registration as an APPG are as follows:

It is explicit that the group is committed to abiding by the principles of transparency which underpin these rules;

  • Members of the public can establish whether or not a group of Members has registered as an APPG;
  • Registered APPGs are entitled to use the term “parliamentary” to describe their activities, and to use the APPG Portcullis badge;
  • APPGs can publish details of their meetings on the All-Party Whip; and
  • APPGs are able to book rooms on the Parliamentary estate.
  • Membership and officers

The group must be open to all Members of both Houses.

  • A minimum of four officers required, including at least one from the government party (or parties) and at least one from the main opposition party. At least two officers should be from the Commons.
  • The group must have a Commons chair; Peers can be co-chairs.
  • The Commons chair must be responsible for the group’s compliance with parliamentary rules and must therefore be the group’s Registered Contact.
  • Groups must advertise elections (including inaugural elections) on the All-Party Whip, giving at least a week’s notice, and such elections should take place when both Houses are sitting.
  • At least one Member of the House of Commons should be present at any meeting where elections are held

Meetings

  • APPGs should hold a minimum of two meetings per year, of which one should be an AGM, at which officers will be elected;
  • The quorum for a meeting should be five Members of either House of Parliament, save that at least one Member of the House of Commons should be present at any meeting where an officer is elected;
  • Sufficient minutes should be kept to demonstrate what meetings have been held and that such meetings have been quorate; and
  • The group should comply with the rules on registering financial benefits

Registering financial benefits

  • Specific benefits or cumulative benefits from a single source above the value of £1,500 must be registered.
  • Material benefits should be registered. They should both be described and have an approximate financial value appended to them in bands of: £1,501-£3,000; £3,000-£6,000 and so on.
  • Financial and material benefits should be registered promptly with information about the date of receipt by group as well as date of registration.
  • Whether or not a group receives benefits which reach the registrable threshold under paragraph ii above, groups which receive a total of £12,500 per year or more must prepare annual income and expenditure statements identifying the support received and the purposes for which it was used.
  • APPGs should declare when an external organisation provides a secretariat and, if funding for this is provided from a third party, the source of that funding. Where a secretariat is provided by a consultancy, that consultancy should make information about their clients available either on their website on request.
  • Individual Members remain responsible for registering any benefits they themselves receive as a result of APPG membership, and the thresholds for registering such benefits should be those applying to individual Members.

Other registration requirements

  • Any registrable change must be made in writing to the Commissioner’s office within 28 days of the change.
  • Website addresses must be included in the Register entry.

Communications

  • APPGs should provide lists of active members either on their website or, if they do not have a website, on request. For these purposes, an active member is one who has asked to be on the APPGs electronic or hard copy mailing list.
  • In communicating with stakeholders and the general public APPGs should be as clear as possible about their status and their sources of funding.
  • APPGs should take care to use only the appropriate APPG Portcullis in any communication, including electronic transmission such as twitter feeds
  • All APPG reports should display a rubric on the front cover which clearly states:
  • This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this Report are those of the group.
  • Where the report has been compiled or funded by an external organisation, the rubric should make this clear through wording such as “This Report was researched by xxx and funded by xxx”.
  • Details of forthcoming meetings should be advertised on the All-Party Whip, including details of any external speakers.

1 The tests of relevance are set out in the Guides to the Rules for MPs and for Peers

2 See definition in para 5(i) in Appendix 1.

3 A formal meeting is one at which one or more decisions is, or is to be, taken, or a vote is to be held; or which includes an outside speaker

6 If the Group submits accounts to an external body such as a Charity Commission or Companies House, the information must be submitted within the timetable set by that body.

7 As set out in paragraph 19 above.

8 For these purposes a sitting day is one on which both Houses are sitting.

9 Groups which existed before the 2015 General Election may, exceptionally, retain earlier titles which do not meet these conditions.

11 Groups which do not have websites must instead make this information available on request.

12 An active member is one who has asked to be on the group’s mailing list.

13 A formal meeting is one at which one or more decisions is, or is to be, taken, or a vote is to be held; or which includes an outside speaker.

14 If it is an online publication.

15 If it is an online publication.

16 An active member is one who has asked to be on the group’s mailing list.

17 A formal meeting is one at which one or more decisions is, or is to be, taken, or a vote is to be held; or which includes an outside speaker.

18 Groups which do not have websites must instead make this information available on request.

19 See para 5(i) in Appendix 1 for definition of reporting year.

20 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

21 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

22 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

23 Groups may include some detail in the notes to the accounts, if more convenient.

24 Exceptions may be made only for Groups which existed under a different name before May 2015

25 If the Group prepares financial reports for an external body such as Companies House or a Charity Commission, the reporting period will be as required by that body.

26 And also the 2017 Parliament.

27 Information about reporting years is set out in paragraph 5 (i) of Appendix 1.

28 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

29 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

30 This is required only of groups which appear on a register in the 2015 parliament or later .

31 Or, if not possible, another General Meeting

32 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

33 Groups which do not have websites must instead make these statements available on request.

34 Groups may include some detail in the notes to the accounts, if more convenient.

35 Bands above £1,500 are set out below for your convenience.

36 For the UK Parliamentary general election on 8 June 2017, the regulated period started on 9 June 2016 and ended on polling day.