Guidance and resources

Candidates and their agents must follow certain rules set out in legislation. We provide guidance to help candidates and agents comply with the rules. You do not have to follow this guidance, but if you do, you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

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    Guidance for candidates and agents

    We have produced a document for people who want to know the basics about elections, the roles of different organisations and where to find more information.

    Read our introduction to elections (PDF)

    Our guidance for elections covers:

    • standing for election
    • campaigning
    • accepting donations
    • spending money
    • your rights as a candidate, including access to election proceedings
    • reporting after the election

    Changes to the law

    The European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 has now come into force.

    This legislation changes the rules on who can donate to candidates.

    Our guidance and reporting forms have been updated to reflect the changes to the legislation.

    Guidance about harassment and intimidation

    Robust political debate is part of a healthy democracy, but sometimes things can go too far.

    The National Police Chiefs Council, working with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Electoral Commission, have produced guidance for candidates and campaigners, to help you understand when behaviour goes beyond political debate and may be unlawful. It also provides more detail as to the nature of possible offences, and some other sources for advice on keeping yourself safe, including online.

    If you feel that behaviour towards you may be unlawful or are concerned for your safety or that of others, you should always contact the police.

    How we can help

    As well as our guidance, we are happy to answer questions and give advice. We are here to help, so please get in touch.

    If you have a question about standing for election, please call or email your local Commission team in England, or your local office in Wales or Scotland. For information on standing for election in Northern Ireland, contact The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

    If you have a question about campaigning, accepting donations, spending money or reporting after the election, please call 0333 103 1928 or email pef@electoralcommission.org.uk

    Between elections, there are rules on donations to certain individuals for political purposes. If you are a prospective candidate and you belong to a registered party please also see our page for regulated individuals.