Legal Information

Our network consists of over 400+ organisations, each of which have their own individual constitutional and legal requirements. They also have different needs and wants from the network.

Some Democracy Network members are interested primarily in networking opportunities, and the chance to share knowledge and skills with others across the democracy sector. Other members are campaigners who are keen to join together to amplify their impact. However, some of the members in the first category are not able to be associated with campaigning work due to the legal implications to their own work and agreements.

We have heard this and sought a way to enable members to join on the terms most appropriate and beneficial to them. We have also sought legal advice to ensure that as a network we are aware of our own obligations. 

Community membership

By joining the Democracy Network as a Community Member you will receive educational information and relevant updates from across the democracy sector including events, jobs, training and networking opportunities.

This membership option does not require or entail participation in DN’s campaigns and does not have any electoral law implications. Most members will join on this basis and are not considered part of the campaigning  work unless they explicitly choose to ‘opt-in’ by talking to one of our Advocacy and Policy Leads.

Community Members, whether they are an organisation or an individual, are required to accept our Membership Agreement when joining the Network. You can view the Community Membership Agreement here.

Campaigning membership

There is a lot of ground-breaking work being done by organisations working on democracy. But as a sector, we face challenges in relation to resource and impact. 

If you are a campaigning organisation, or an organisation that campaigns, you might see the benefits in  working in collaboration with aligned organisations in the sector to achieve greater collective  impact. 

‘Opting in’ to ‘campaigning’ membership on the basis set out in our legal agreement does not require either you or DN to register with the Electoral Commission during any regulated period.

Campaigning Members, whether they are an organisation or an individual, are required to accept our Democracy Network Campaigning Membership Agreement when joining the Network. You can view the Campaigning Membership Agreement here.

Purpose of the legal agreement 

The legal document on two tier membership outlines the application of charity law to Involve (who host the Network) and the wider democracy sector’s campaign activity. It ensures that all who join  as members can be confident that the information you receive and the activities you take part in as a  member of the DN are consistent with charity law (if relevant) and not regulated under electoral  law. It includes a formal agreement for those who want to ‘opt in’ to joint campaigning work. It  provides explanations of the relevant charity and electoral law and conditions under which  campaigning activity may be regulated. It also contains an FAQ section. 

The Democracy Network’s legal position 

Both educational and campaign work are permissible in charity law, provided that they are effective  means of advancing your charitable purposes (it does in our case) and will not be subject to  regulation by the Electoral Commission or further subject to electoral law. The Democracy Network  will take steps to ensure it does not need to register with the Electoral Commission. 

Your legal position 

We suggest our members also take steps to avoid needing to register with the Electoral Commission  in order to not incur controlled expenditure. If you are a charity, you will need to check that your  trustees are satisfied that the activities you sign up to as a member are an effective way to advance  your charity’s objects. Please see the terms of the legal agreement if you wish to ‘opt in’. 

For further information on our legal position and an FAQ, see this document.