Guidance for Candidates at Parish council elections in England

How to use this guidance

Our guidance is separated out into sections, each of which deals with a different part of the process you will be involved with as a candidate for parish council elections in England.

When you click on a link in the navigation list to the right, it will reveal the links to the different areas of guidance for each section. When you reach the end of a page, you can use the link at the bottom right-hand side to move to the next page of guidance.

Each section provides links to relevant forms and information resources, you will find these embedded in the text. You can also access these in the ‘Resources’ link at the end of the navigation tree.

If you wish to print off all of the guidance you can do so using the link at the top of the page.
Our guidance sets out the stages that candidates and their agents need to go through when standing at a local government election. The areas covered are:

SectionWhat it covers:
What you need to know before standing as a candidate
  • Qualifications and disqualifications to stand as a candidate
  • When you officially become a candidate
Candidate spending
  • The rules about how much candidates can spend on their campaigns
  • Reporting on campaign spending after the election
The campaign
  • The rules on publication and display of campaign literature 
  • The rules about campaigning
  • General principles for campaigning
  • The nomination process and what forms you will need to complete
  • Submission of nomination papers
  • What happens after you have submitted your nomination papers
Postal Votes
  • The processes for issuing and opening postal votes
  • Attending postal vote opening sessions
Polling Day
  • Polling day processes
  • Attending polling stations
  • Polling day dos and don’ts
Verification and count
  • What happens at the verification and count
  • Attending the verification and count
After the declaration of the result
  • Submitting spending returns
  • Access to election documentation, including marked registers
  • Other post poll activities
Last updated: 1 December 2023