Selecting a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate is a major opportunity for both Local Parties and Approved Candidates to build a great head of steam going into the next General Election campaign.
Open selections have now restarted providing that you have the agreement of your Regional Candidates' Chair and that a Returning Officer is available. However, there are a number of steps to complete before the selection can begin, which you can read about below:
In March 2016 the Federal Conference voted to support the introduction of a range of measures to help drive greater diversity and representation among our pool of selected candidates. Here are some of the recommendations that effect what has to be done before a seat can advertise.
All local parties that received over 15% of the vote during the 2015 General Election are required to provide documented evidence to their region or state (as relevant) of a thorough search for potential candidates from under-represented groups before being granted permission to start their Westminster selection process.
An advert cannot be placed for a candidate until this research is submitted.
Seats where over 25% of the vote was won without returning an MP
Where there are two or more non-held seats which gained 25%, the region needs to agree with the local party to designate at least one seat not held by a Liberal Democrat MP to select its candidate from an all-women shortlist.
Any seat which gained over 15% or more of the vote, is required to display documented evidence of it's search for a candidate from an under-represented background and to save two spaces on a shortlist for applicants from the these groups.
An advert cannot be placed for a candidate until at least one all-women shortlist is designated in each applicable region.
The full text of the Diversity Motion can be found here.
Worried about how boundary changes effect all of this?
If the membership moves out of the constituency by more than 20% a re-selection will have to occur. If not, the original selection remains valid.
Returning Officers are the crucial link that make open selections possible, and you will need to request one be assigned by your Regional Candidates' Chair in order to formally begin a selection. The RO cannot be a person from within the local party, or with any particular interest in the area to ensure their impartiality. However, encouraging a member of your local party to take the training will help to facilitate sharing resources with neighboring organisations and increase the overall speed of selections.
Even if you haven't got an RO in place there are various steps you can take to get the ball rolling.
In order to shorten the overall process, begin thinking about who from the local party could make up the Shortlisting Committee. This panel (normally around 5 members) draws up the minimum selection criteria and checks all applications received for the seat to guarantee that they meet such in order to be put forward to an all member hustings further down the line. Specialized training is needed, which can be delivered by any Returning Offier even if they live within the local party area.
An advert can only be placed with the Candidates' Office once a Shortlisting Committee has been identified. To set up Shortlisting training do get in touch with the Candidates' team.
Compacts were introduced to allow local parties and candidates to agree goals and the workload undertaken by both. Of course every seat will have very different aims, needs and opportunities, but for an idea of the content which you could include then please take a look at this page which explains the Compact in greater detail.
Advert and Constituency Profile
A constituency profile is another task which can be done before a Returning Officer is appointed. These profiles help to give a candidate a rounded idea of the prospects in the seat and what the local party's expectations might be for success. As such it can help to draw in a greater number of applications. Examples profiles from Aldershot, Exeter and Wyntheshawe are available from the links provided.
Once selections open you will be able to place advert through the Candidates' Office, please contact them to request a booking form.