Political fund

What is the political fund?

As a campaigning organisation, Prospect engages with politicians and political parties in a number of ways, from writing letters to individual MPs or councillors to lobbying party conferences. Any union involved in ‘political’ activities – as laid down in the Trade Union Acts of 1913 and 1984 – must finance them from a political fund which is separate from its other income.

What are ‘political’ activities?

The definition of political activities includes spending on literature, documents or film, ‘the main purpose’ of which could be interpreted as seeking to persuade anyone to vote for or against a political party or candidate. These activities extend to the provision of ‘any service’ for use by political parties. What constitutes a service is not defined – whether it be a briefing, reimbursement of expenses or hospitality for an MP.

Politically independent

Under the rules of the fund and of Prospect, affiliations or donations to any party are prohibited unless a full ballot of the members so decides.

How has the fund been used?

The fund is used to support campaigns that would otherwise be at risk of legal challenge. If Prospect is challenged over any expenditure, for example, in the middle of a campaign on pay or pensions, the fund would ensure the campaign could continue. In recent years, it has been used in campaigns on forensic science, broadband investment, indexation of pensions, redundancy compensation, science policy, defence jobs etc.

How it works

Political fund contributions are voluntary therefore you must opt-in to contribute. You also have the right to opt-out at any time.


The fund is used only for campaigning that could be deemed political. All expenditure from the fund must be reported to the Certification Officer.

A member who chooses not to contribute to the political fund cannot be excluded from any benefits of the union or be placed at a disadvantage compared with other members of the union (except in relation to control of the political fund).