Standing as a Candidate in Local Elections
A Quick Guide
To stand as a candidate in the local elections the key things you need are:
1 To be registered to vote.
For County Council elections you can stand where you live or work. For Borough and District elections the rules are different…you may be able to stand anywhere in your Borough or District.
There are restrictions on standing if you are a paid officer or employee of the local authority or hold a politically restricted post, the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order or have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more during the five years before polling day.
2 Nominations from 10 registered voters.
You need 10 people to put their names on the nomination form. These nominations must be from people who are registered to vote in the ward or district you are standing in. A ward is a smaller area than a district. Wards are used in Borough and District elections; districts in County elections.
3 People to support and help you.
Your campaign will be much easier if you have help leafleting and campaigning. Many people find the process of submitting the paperwork daunting; help here can be invaluable. Don’t leave it to the last minute.
4 A small amount of funding.
You will need to pay for leaflets and to keep an account of any money you spend. There are limits on spending during the campaign period.
5 Time to campaign and canvas.
Knocking on every door in your area is not compulsory but it will help. To do this may take a couple of weeks or more…the equivalent of going on holiday in your own neighbourhood!
If you are already known in your area that will also help. Building name recognition, perhaps with the help of a party, is important.
You may have a small number of campaign issues or decide to campaign based on your approach.
6 A social media presence and a hard skin.
Some form of social media presence is helpful; you may want to separate this from your personal accounts. You may get abuse online or in person and there may be days during your campaign when you need a break.
7 Time to do the job.
If you get elected you will need time to do the job. If not, you can try again, support someone else or feel reassured that you have at least got your message across.
You need to allow a day a week to support constituents once elected and time to attend a small number of Council meetings. Councillors vary widely in terms of how much work they do. You do get paid for your work as a Councillor.
8 Party or Independent
Life is definitely easier if you stand as a Westminster party candidate. You will have an existing team to help you, buy you will need to go through their own selection process. It is likely that it will be too late for you to get selected for 2023 by one of the Westminster parties. You could help support them or look into existing local parties.
If you want to stand as an independent candidate help is at hand from the Independent Network, which you can join to get help and advice. They can also provide a logo or identity for you to use on the ballot paper. Further details at www.IndependentNetwork.org.UK
9 Visit www.ElectoralCommission.org.UK
If you are interested in further information the Electoral Commission provides more details. Search for ‘Nomination Papers.’ The LGA Independent Group guide is here: https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-independent/our-work/be-councillor
Alternatively contact Support@TheDemocraticNetwork.org.
Nigel Jacklin, October 2022