Support for volunteers ahead of the 2024 general election

Information to ensure you know what to do (and not to do) on behalf of Girlguiding between now and the election

05 June 2024

General elections are important times for the UK.

This one may be the first where some of our young members will either be interested in finding out about it, or voting for the first time. We’re here to support you and our young people during this time as a Girlguiding member.

As you may know, the Prime Minister has called an election on 4 July. This blog gives information and advice to ensure everyone feels confident that they know what to do (and not to do) on behalf of Girlguiding between now and the election.

Girlguiding is a charity, and as such we must follow the guidelines set by the Charity Commission and Electoral Commission. This means you cannot endorse political parties or candidates in your role as a Girlguiding member or volunteer.

How to support young members

At Girlguiding, it’s important to us to help girls become active citizens. Here are some ways you can support young members to engage with this year’s general election – whether or not they are old enough to vote.

Created in collaboration with our advocate panel, our election manifesto is split into 4 main issues that matter most to girls - girls’ safety, mental health, cost of living and the environment. You can use our manifesto to help guide conversations within your unit.

It’s really important to us that girls get the skills to become active citizens and have their voices heard!
We’ve compiled a list of activities and resources from Girlguiding and our partners, to help you educate and engage our young members in the general election!

Girlguiding programme activities

The Take Action theme of our programme is all about building the skills to make a positive difference. It includes things like campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, reducing waste and speaking out.
Below you can find a few suggested activities, interest badges and skills builders that you can run with your unit to help them learn about Parliament, speaking out, campaigning and voting.

Below you can find a few suggested activities, interest badges and skills builders that you can run with your unit to help them learn about Parliament, speaking out, campaigning and voting.

Take Action programme activities in collaboration with UK Parliament Week

Take Action interest badges and skills builders

How are we supporting you in your role?

We have partnered with the Politics Project, who provide outstanding democratic education for teachers, students and politicians across the UK.

They run non-partisan impartial workshops, and on Monday 10 June they hosted a webinar to help support our volunteers. In this call they discussed how to touch on controversial topics, having impartial conversations with young people, and activities to engage them in democracy. 

The Politics Project have also shared these slides about exploring elections which you can run through with your young members.

The #ElectionCountdown youth activities scheme of work has been designed to support young people to engage in the 2024 general election. This scheme of work includes a series of short games and activities designed to support young people to discuss and explore issues around voting, elections and democracy.

And you can find hundreds more free resources to help young people engage in elections on the Democracy Classroom website!

Important things to know

  • The deadline to register to vote in an election is 12 working days before polling day, which for this election is Tuesday 18 June by 11.59pm.
  • This will be the first general election in which voters will have to show photo ID to be able to vote. The government has issued a list of photo identification accepted at polling stations. If you don’t have any of the forms of identification listed by the government, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by 5pm on Wednesday 26 June to be able to vote in this general election.

All Girlguiding volunteers, members and staff need to follow the rules set out by the Charity Commission in the period leading up to an election and there are always restrictions on political activity and charities.

Here’s a short list with guidance on how to stay impartial, and who to contact at Girlguiding if approached by a political party or candidate.

Following the rules

  • As a charity, it is important that we remain impartial. We don’t support particular political parties or candidates. If you’re planning an event involving candidates, please contact the external affairs team [email protected] to let us know, so that we can provide any support you may need and please invite all candidates from different parties if you plan to invite any.
  • Outside work or volunteering, you're free to support whoever you’d like. But you should not do this on behalf of Girlguiding (including on social media). This applies to any communications on behalf of Girlguiding including from individual units and individuals holding any role in Girlguiding.
  • If you're clearly seen to be part of Girlguiding on your social media (eg. you tag @Girlguiding in your profile or are in uniform in your profile image), you must avoid posting party political messages during the election period.
  • It’s also important to avoid indirectly supporting a candidate or party on behalf of Girlguiding by appearing to be associated with them. For example, it’s fine to communicate about issues that parties also support, so long as it’s clear Girlguiding is independent from these parties. It might be that Girlguiding’s position on a particular issue may be similar to that of one of the political parties, meaning Girlguiding can continue to campaign on the issue as long as we makes clear our independence from any political party.
  • You should avoid directly comparing Girlguiding’s campaigns and policies to those of candidates and parties or seeking their support for our campaigns. It’s safest to steer clear of publishing or communicating about a candidate’s views on behalf of Girlguiding (even if they are similar to ours) during this period.
  • If a political party approaches you with a request to use Girlguiding’s manifesto, or other Girlguiding materials to support their party policy then this request must be politely declined. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, please direct queries to [email protected].
  • Girlguiding branding, logos and uniforms must not appear in any political campaign materials - that includes social media posts from candidates.
  • You're allowed to invite candidates to an event or unit activity, but we don't recommend doing so as it's important that we aren't seen to be endorsing a particular party. We recommend waiting until after the election and then inviting the elected MP for your local area. Another way of overcoming this is to invite candidates from as wide a political spectrum as possible, or at least the candidates from the main political parties depending on where your constituency is. It’s fine if you’ve invited candidates from all major parties and some can’t come.
  • As mentioned, you should let Girlguiding’s external affairs team know if you’re planning an event involving candidates during the general election period. The team may need to advise on whether to invite a candidate based on whether there's a risk of disruption. If the representative from the political party advocates policies that go against our values then it would be acceptable to not invite them.
  • You shouldn't deliberately exclude candidates from any of the main parties at the event without having a strong reason - as outlined above.

We're really grateful for all the time and effort you put into Girlguiding and we're here to support you. If you're unsure or would like advice, please speak to your commissioner or reach out to our external affairs team on [email protected].