Guidance for Candidates and Agents at Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Local campaigning

In some instances, people spend money to promote a candidate without providing or transferring something for the candidate’s use or benefit during the campaign. Likewise, people may spend money to criticise a candidate or encourage voters not to support them.

Organisations or individuals, who are not standing as candidates at the elections, who campaign for or against a candidate are known as ‘local non-party campaigners’.

Local non-party campaigners can spend up to a ‘permitted sum’ in each police area on campaigning for or against a candidate.1  Each police area has its own spending limit. It applies once the candidate is officially a candidate (see When do you officially become a candidate?).

These limits are:2

Police areaSpending limitPolice areaSpending limit
Avon & Somerset£6,278Norfolk£3,392
Bedfordshire£2,347North Wales£2,674
Cambridgeshire£3,055North Yorkshire£3,142
Derbyshire£3,993South Wales£4,904
Devon & Cornwall£6,573South Yorkshire£5,030
Gloucestershire£2,422Thames Valley£8,551
Hampshire £7,345West Mercia£4,750
Hertfordshire£4,260West Midlands£10,080
Humberside  £3,557Wiltshire£2,630

A local non-party campaigner cannot spend more than this permitted sum without the agent’s written authorisation to incur the additional spending, which will count towards the candidate’s spending limit.3

If a local non-party campaigner incurs spending over the permitted sum, then this additional spending must be reported by them to the Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) within 21 days of the result being declared.4  There is a separate return and declaration that must be completed by the local non-party campaigner to report authorised expenses.


The authorised expenses must also be included in the candidate’s spending return.5  Money that is incurred by campaigners in local campaigns that has been authorised by the agent is candidate spending and counts towards the spending limit.6

The authorised expenses may also be paid by the person authorised to incur them.7  If they do make the payments, and the spending is over £50, then this will be a donation to the candidate and must be reported in the spending return.8

See Making payments for candidate spending and Candidate donations for more information.

Non-party campaigners planning a local campaign should read our guidance for local non-party campaigners

Local campaigning by parties

Parties must also be aware that any spending by the party on local campaigning for one of their candidates that is not authorised by the agent, will count as party spending.9  At elections covered by party regulated period, this spending must be included in the party's spending return.10

By law there must be a UK Parliamentary general election by 28 January 2025. This means that it is likely that campaigning at the elections in May 2024 will be covered by a party regulated period.

In contrast, any authorised expenses will only need to appear in the local campaigning forms and candidate spending return as above.


For example, the agent agrees to authorise the party to spend over the permitted sum for that police area on spending to promote the candidate. The agent must provide written authorisation before the party spends over the permitted sum. In this scenario, the party also agrees to make the payments for these authorised expenses.

The agent must report this authorised spending in the candidate’s return, as it will count towards the candidate’s spending limit. As the party have paid for these authorised expenses, these must also be reported as a donation to the candidate if the value is over £50.11

The party must complete a separate return and declaration to report these expenses and submit these to the Police Area Returning Officer within 21 days of the result being declared.12

As the spending is reported in the candidate’s spending return, it does not need to be reported in the party’s spending return.13

Last updated: 14 December 2023