There has been some controversy about the identity of the organisation that commissioned a recent YouGov MRP poll, the first results from which were published in The Daily Telegraph on 15 January. The organisation in question is the Conservative Britain Alliance.
Inter alia, the British Polling Council rules on disclosure state that:
All data and research findings made on the basis of social or political polls conducted in the United Kingdom by member organisations that enter the public domain, must include reference to the following:
- Client commissioning the survey;
This information, together with a range of other requirements about how a poll has been conducted and the details of the results are required to be posted on a member company’s website within two working days of initial publication.
In the case of this poll, extensive information was published on YouGov’s website on 15 January, and further information, as relevant, has been posted as further results from the poll have been published subsequently.
The BPC are aware that the Conservative Britain Alliance has not hitherto had any public profile, does not have a website, and is not known to be registered with, for example, Companies House, the Electoral Commission, or the Charities Commission.
However, the BPC have been advised that this is the organisation that was responsible for commissioning the poll, and that therefore there is no reason at present to believe that YouGov have not met their obligations under its rules. It is of course possible for any group of citizens to create a club, society or organisation whose activities do not require it to be registered with any body and which decides not to have a presence on the web.
The BPC would, of course, have no objection if further information about the commissioning organisation were to be made public, but this lies beyond its remit. Meanwhile, as is continually the case, the Council will be alive to identifying any lessons for its work that may be thought to arise from this incident.