Guidance and resources for Returning Officers administering local government elections taking place in Wales

The guidance on this page has been updated to reflect provisions of The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (Wales) Rules 2021, The Local Elections (Communities) (Wales) Rules 2021 and The Local Elections (Miscellaneous and Consequential Amendments)(Wales) Regulations 2022 that take effect for principal area and community council elections held on and after the 5 May 2022.

If you are running a by-election please contact the Electoral Commission Wales team via


Supplementary guidance

​We published supplementary guidance in 2021 to support administrators with preparing for and delivering polls against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. This remains available for your reference:  

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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