Guidance for Returning Officers administering Local Government Elections in England

Casual Vacancies and by-elections

This guidance is to support you in planning for and managing the casual vacancy process for principal area and parish councils in England. It explains the various circumstances under which casual vacancies can occur and outlines the actions that you will need to take should a casual vacancy arise.
You will also find guidance on the timing of by-elections. You can then refer to our guidance on planning for local government elections and starting the election timetable once the date for your by-election is decided.
The guidance includes actions that should be undertaken by the local authority, the Proper Officer and the Returning Officer. When we use the term ’you’ we are addressing the Returning Officer. 

Where the guidance is different for parish councils the information will be contained in an expanding section. 

Last updated: 4 November 2022