Guidance for Candidates and Agents at local government elections in England

What activities count as candidate spending?

During the regulated period, spending on any of the following activities will count as candidate spending if the activity promotes the candidate:

  • advertising of any kind.1  For example, posters, newspaper adverts, websites, or videos
  • unsolicited material sent to voters.2  For example, letters, leaflets, or emails you send that aren’t in response to specific queries
  • transport costs.3  For example, hire cars or public transport for your campaigners
  • public meetings.4  For example, reimbursing expenses of attendees, hiring premises and paying for goods, services or facilities for a public meeting
  • staff costs.5  For example, an agent’s salary, or staff seconded to you by their employer. You do not need to include time spent on your campaign by volunteers
  • accommodation.6  For example, your campaign office
  • administrative costs.7  For example, telephone bills, stationery, photocopying and the use of databases

This includes:

  • all costs associated with an activity. For example, if you are producing leaflets or advertising, you must include the design and distribution costs
  • items or services bought before the regulated period that you use during the regulated period
  • some items or services given to you free of charge or at a discount that you make use of during the regulated period. See Notional spending for more information.

This spending must be reported in your spending return after the election. More details on each category are given on the following pages.

Last updated: 1 December 2023