Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) we have a duty to administer an accreditation scheme for all observers at UK elections and referendums.
Below you will find:
- information on how to apply, including downloadable application forms
- the Code of Practice all observers must follow
- the registers of accredited observers, organisations and authorised Commission representatives
- guidance issued to Returning, Counting and Presiding Officers
- guidance issued to Commission representatives
Who can apply for accreditation?
Organisations and individuals over the age of 16 with an interest in observing elections/referendums can apply to us for accreditation.
Please note that even though observers are accredited by us, observers will not be observing on behalf of the Commission, nor receive any payment for their activities from the Commission.
Observer registers and list of authorised Commission representatives
Do I have to tell the Commission where I want to observe?
Observers accredited by us do not need to give advance notice of when and where they intend to observe.
What can I observe?
- proceedings at the poll
- proceedings at the issue and receipt of postal ballot papers
- proceedings at the count
How to apply
Application forms are available for download from this webpage and on request from any of our offices.
All observers are required to sign a declaration stating that they have read and understood the Code of Practice.
You can now email your application and all your supporting documents to us at email@example.com
Please allow ten days for the processing of your application. We recommend you do not wait until an election/referendum is imminent before applying, as accreditation will not come into effect until three days after the issue of your observer ID card and your inclusion on our register of accredited observers (XLS).
We will also receive application forms at any of our offices during normal business hours, or by post.
Returning, Counting and Presiding Officers
Under legislation, we have an obligation to issue guidance to Returning, Counting and Presiding Officers on the observer scheme. Section 6F of PPERA requires the relevant officers to pay regard to this guidance. This guidance is contained in Part C of the Code of Practice on observing elections in the UK (PDF).
- representatives of the Commission to attend electoral or referendum proceedings
- representatives of the Commission to observe the working practices of Electoral Registration Officers, Returning Officers and Counting Officers
We have published guidance for Commission representatives as part of the full Code of Practice that was laid in both Houses of the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament (see Part D).