Updated Advice on Approval and Selection procedures

ALDC has published its updated Approval and Selection Toolkit (April 2020).

The toolkit is available to everyone.

There are also links to further resources for ALDC members.

Early selection remains one of the key ways we can increase our chance of winning council seats. Thurs 6 May 2021 is a local election ‘Super Thursday’, we need to get as many candidates in place as quickly as possible. In England, most areas will have a least two elections, and in others it will be three. In Scotland and Wales we have parliamentary elections and, probably, delayed by-elections. To maximise our impact we must coordinate these campaigns – a task that will be made easier by early selection.

The lockdown has disrupted many parts of our lives and our campaigning, but local election approval and selection processes can go ahead. In particular, you can:

  • Identify and contact potential candidates
  • Agree approval and selection timetables
  • Notify members of vacancies
  • Undertake the approvals process using online conferencing tools
  • Hold online hustings and have selection votes by mail(1)

Online platforms, such as Zoom, are suitable for both carrying out approval interviews and online hustings. However, a quick note of caution – you must use the security features to protect confidential meetings, such as approval interviews and the ‘paperwork’, such as application forms, must be stored and shared securely, for instance as password protected pdf files (2).

Candidates approved and selected for 2020 should be carried forward to 2021. However, if you need to replace candidates, the new applicant will need to go through the normal process.

For next year’s elections, council boundaries (especially county councils) and local parties often do not match. In England, the constitution requires coordination between local parties under these circumstances – Article 3.8 ‘For the purposes of …. (b) elections for a local authority, including Mayors, divided between more than one local party, and (c) Police and Crime Commissioner elections, the local parties concerned shall form appropriate joint arrangements to co-ordinate candidate approval and selection …’ and ‘… local parties making joint arrangements under 3.8 above shall adopt a procedure for the approval of candidates for local elections. That procedure shall be uniform across the area of the local authority.’ This means that you will need to ensure a co-ordinated approach to approvals for 2021 candidates, and you should be using standard, authority wide approval forms and job descriptions. In particular, councillor contributions (tithing) must be standard across the local authority area.

Our Approval and Selection Toolkit

The approval and selection pack takes you through the processes you need to successfully approve and select your 2021 candidates. If you haven’t already started, please do so as soon as possible.

  • Your local party constitution should specify how votes are to be conducted. There is no constitutional provision for electronic votes, however, we are contacting the chairs of state party appeals panels for a ruling on alternative ballot methods.
  • Please always remember to share password via a different method, e.g. email a document and text the password.


Download our full Approval and Selection Toolkit here.

Candidate approval tracker
Candidate application form
Candidate search letter
Candidate agreement target seats
Candidate agreement non-target seats
● Councillor job description and person specification
Candidate approval covering letter
Approval panel guidance
Approval panel pro-forma
● Decision letter – approve/ defer/ reject
Panel questions
Selection timetable
Returning Officer check list
Letter to candidates
● Reply slip – PagePlus and PDF
● Selection advert – PagePlus and PDF
Letter to voting members

Don’t forget to tell us about your candidates

Every year we ask candidates to tell us where they are standing for election – which council and ward. 

We want to hear from people who are standing for the first time and long- standing councillors. You don’t need to be a member of ALDC to register your details.

Please fill in your information HERE

Rupert Knowles says

Lib Dems are a community of scribblers. There is just too much stuff to read it all and live a life!
I am Chair of the local branch and get inundated with stuff that is far too wordy.

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