The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Candidate or agent

Candidates and their agents must follow certain rules set out in legislation. We provide guidance to help candidates and agents comply with the rules. You do not have to follow this guidance, but if you do, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. On this page you will find links to all the different elections that we produce guidance for.

We have produced a document for people who want to know the basics about elections, the roles of different organisations and where to find more information.

Our guidance for elections covers:

  • standing for election
  • campaigning
  • accepting donations
  • spending money
  • your rights as a candidate, including access to election proceedings
  • reporting after the election

How we can help

As well as our guidance, we are happy to answer questions and give advice. We are here to help, so please get in touch.

If you have a question about standing for election, please call or email your local Commission team in England, or your local office in Wales or Scotland. For information on standing for election in Northern Ireland, contact The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

If you have a question about campaigning, accepting donations, spending money or reporting after the election, please call 020 7271 0616 or email pef@electoralcommission.org.uk

Between elections, there are rules on donations to certain individuals for political purposes. If you are a prospective candidate and you belong to a registered party please also see our page for regulated individuals.

Latest updates

  • Date of dissolution for Northern Ireland Assembly


    We have received information that the Northern Ireland Assembly will dissolve on 29 March 2016.

    The guidance has been updated to show 29 March 2016 as the date of dissolution.

  • Guidance for 2016 elections


    Part 3 of our guidance for candidates at local elections in England in 2016 and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales in 2016 states that the earliest date you can become a candidate is Thursday 30 March.

    The guidance has been amended to correct the day to Wednesday 30 March 2016.

  • National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2015


    The National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2015 was made on 15 July, and came into force on the 1 September 2015.  The Order revokes the previous legislation made in 2010, and can be viewed here.

Candidate or agent