Guidance and resources for Returning Officers administering local government elections taking place in England, as well as our guidance for Combined Authority Returning Officers administering a combined authority mayoral election in England

​We have published supplementary guidance to support administrators with preparing for and delivering polls against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. 

If you want to download emblems for political parties, visit our online database.

Caveat wording for legislation change regarding subscribers

The UK government has made legislation to reduce the number of subscribers that are required by each candidate for some elections. We have updated the guidance and resources on this page accordingly. 


Part A

Returning Officer role and responsibilities

This part covers:

  • How to use this guidance
  • The Returning Officer's role, responsibilities, skills and knowledge
  • Our performance standards for Returning Officers

Part B

Planning and organisation

This part covers:

  • Planning (including the identification and training of staff, the selection and booking of venues and management of contractors and suppliers)
  • How to maintain the integrity of the election
  • Raising awareness
  • Access to proceedings by electoral observers and Commission representatives
Part C

Administering the poll

This part covers:

  • The nomination period (including access to the register by candidates, spending limits and the nominations process)
  • The production of notices, poll cards and ballot papers
  • Polling station voting


CARO guidance

Guidance for Combined Area Returning Officers administering a combined area Mayoral election in England

This part covers:

  • Combined Area Returning Officer's role, responsibilities and knowledge
  • Our guidance and performance standards for Combined Area Returning Officers