Undertaking the role of election agent is a challenging and complex task. It carries significant legal responsibility and is increasingly complex. The rules governing elections now have significant variations depending on the type of election and the part of the UK you are in. Today, an agent needs to consider data protection and PPERA (the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act) as well as thinking about traditional electoral and other relevant laws, including the seemingly archaic Newspapers, Printers and Reading Rooms Repeal Act (1860).
The legal framework we operate in continues to develop and so up to date training is vital for all agents.
We have developed a course to take prospective election agents through the process of being an agent in local elections. The course is suitable for complete beginners, but will also be relevant for those who want to bring their knowledge up to date.
The course is being run during our Autumn Kickstart weekend, 23-25 November, to allow attendees to cover the whole course in one go. Attendees will leave with a range of relevant material, including our new book (scheduled to be published in Autumn 2018) on being an election agent.
Although the bulk of the course is covered on the Saturday, coming to Kickstart for the whole weekend offers a great value way to train as an agent and to gain other experience. If you wish to attend the Saturday-only, you will have a pre-attendance briefing and the opportunity to submit homework after the event.
On the Friday evening, we meet informally and talk over the role of an agent, the background to some of the legislation and look at what we will be covering over the next two days.
On the Saturday we cover the bulk of the course.
In the first part, we consider the role and legal standing of the agent, the election timetable, the candidate nomination process, we look at other legal issues, imprints and data protection and at postal voting.
In the second session, we look at money and election expenses. We consider record keeping, donations, expenditure and digital issues. Finally, we look at expense returns, wastage and accounting for expenditure on party systems.
You will then have the chance to attend one of the Kickstart training sessions (you can choose from five different subjects).
In the final session, we look at other legal issues, before considering polling day and the count. This will be followed by a ‘homework’ session.
On Sunday, we have a final session to review the ‘homework’, re-cap what we have covered and do an exercise on the count.
The limited early-bird cost to ALDC members is £160, but the cost will go up when these have gone. So act fast. The non-ALDC member price is £280. All meals and accommodation will be included in this price. The training will be held at Yarnfield Park in Staffordshire.