Guidance for Returning Officers administering Local Government Elections in England

Declaring the results

You must prepare a statement setting out the name of each candidate, the total number of votes given for each candidate and the number of rejected ballot papers given under each heading.

Once you have prepared the statement, you must declare the result of the election.1  

When planning for the declaration of result you should:

  • decide on the exact location in the count venue where public announcements and the declaration will take place and who will be on the platform at these times
  • ensure that the platform is accessible for all those who need to get up on it
  • consider if you can make use of the display boards to provide a suitable backdrop for the announcement of results 
  • check any equipment that you will use for the announcement before the proceedings begin
  • double-check that the result is accurate, and that it is written in the form of words for oral delivery in order to avoid any errors - you may need to repeat the declaration so that those in attendance are able to hear the detail clearly, particularly where there is noise from those attending
  • consider how you will provide media representatives in attendance with a written copy of the results at the time the announcement is made as this will help them to ensure that their transmission of figures is accurate 
  • make sure that you follow the requirement to provide public notice of the name of the candidate(s) elected, the total number of votes given to each candidate and the number of rejected ballot papers under each heading  

When a candidate has used their commonly used name to stand in an election, you should use both their full name and their commonly used name when declaring the result to provide transparency regarding the candidates standing for election.

However, there is no legal requirement to use both their full name and commonly used name, and you can decide on the approach to take when declaring results. Whichever approach is followed, you should ensure that you apply it consistently for all candidates and undertake any additional checks necessary on verification and count paperwork to ensure that candidates’ names appear in the same order as listed on the ballot paper.

Once you have declared the result at the count, it is final and cannot be amended. You should therefore take care to ensure that the result you declare is accurate.

However, if you make an error in your oral announcement you can correct this, provided it is done immediately.

Further information can be found in our guidance on providing notice of the result.

You must also, as soon as practicable, provide the notice of the result to the Proper Officer of the council for which each election is held.2

Combined authority and combined county authority mayoral elections

Once instructed to do so by the CARO/CCARO, you must draw up a final statement and make a declaration of the local totals and the details of rejected ballot papers under each head.3

At a combined authority or  combined county authority mayoral election, the CARO/CCARO will give notice of the person elected to the Proper Officer of the combined authority. 

Further guidance on giving public notice after the election is provided in our Guidance for CARO/CCAROs.

Last updated: 8 July 2024