Guidance for Candidates at Parish council elections in England


After the election, the candidate should make sure that:

  • all invoices are received no later than 14 calendar days after polling day1
  • all invoices are paid no later than 21 calendar days after polling day2
  • an election spending return reporting details of the candidate’s spending, together with a declaration confirming the return is complete and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief, is reported to the Returning Officer no later than 28 days after polling day.3

Please note that if the deadline for any of the above falls on a weekend or public holiday, the deadline will move to the next working day.4  This is included within the following deadline calculations.

Polling dayLatest date to
Receive your invoicesPay your invoicesSubmit your return and declaration
2 May 202416 May 202423 May 202430 May 2024

You must still submit a return even if you haven’t spent any money.5  This is called a ‘nil return’.

There are consequences for failure to submit spending returns and these are set out in What happens if a spending return or declaration isn’t submitted?

Invoices received or paid outside of the deadlines

We call claims (invoices for your candidate spending) that are received by the election agent later than the deadline of 14 days, unpaid claims.

Unpaid claims cannot legally be paid unless a court order is gained granting leave to pay the claim.6   It can be an offence to pay an unpaid claim without a court order.7

We call claims (invoices) that were submitted within the deadline of 14 days but remain unpaid later than the deadline of 21 days, disputed claims.

Disputed claims cannot legally be paid without a court order first being gained granting leave to pay the claim.8

Last updated: 31 May 2024