Welcome to the Liberal Democrat approvals process. As a party, we are always delighted to welcome new candidates.
As a candidate you will have the chance to make a real difference to your local area and to stand up for local people. The role is one of variety - one day you may be dealing with a local resident’s problem, the next giving your opinion on national Party policy.
The Party’s approvals process is designed to ensure clarity and transparency. The process is based upon a Competency Framework of the qualities a parliamentary candidate should possess. The six competencies are:
We provide the competency framework, with detailed descriptions for each competency, to members of the Party to study prior to assessment and it is included in the application pack. To request a copy of the application pack please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Application packs are only available to Party members. If you are not already a member and would like to join the Liberal Democrats please click here.
The Liberal Democrats Approval Process in Detail
We would strongly recommend that you complete the self-assessment questionnaire before applying.
The application forms are very straightforward. They are used to ensure that you are who you say you are and you are eligible to stand for Parliament. The application form does not form part of the assessment nor do the assessors see it. We just ask you for the following information:
Once you submit your application form you will be added to the list of people awaiting assessment. As long as you have been a party member for 12 consecutive months in England and Wales and 9 consecutive months in Scotland and there are no problems with your application, we will invite you on an assessment day as soon as possible. Assessment centres take place across the country. Our target is that all eligible applicants will be offered a place at an assessment centre within six months.
The assessment centre is based on the competency framework. This sets out our expectations of parliamentary candidates. The assessment team does not see your application form; they only assess your performance during the assessment centre.
We will send you information on the assessment day exercises and how to prepare once you return your application forms. Assessment consists of a variety of exercises designed to allow you to demonstrate how you would perform as a parliamentary candidate. Please note that:
If you successfully pass the assessment you will be approved as a candidate. If you are not successfully approved on the assessment day you will be able to reapply in either 1 or 5 years, depending on your final mark.
Once you are an approved candidate and you are on the Approved List, you can apply for selection in any seat advertising for a parliamentary candidate. These adverts appear on ldmembers.libdems.org.uk > Our Party > Selections Adverts – Latest News.
To apply for an advertised seat:
If you are successfully short-listed, you will have three weeks to campaign for the support of Local Party members. At the end of the campaign, there will be a hustings meeting where the Local Party members will vote for their candidate for the upcoming General Election. If the Local Party selects you, you will fight the next General Election for that seat.
Scottish Parliamentary elections are split two types of seats:
Constituency seats are selected as for a General Election with the regional seats as for a European Election. There are 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament of which 73 are constituency seats. To stand in Scotland, candidates must have completed an assessment centre and the Scottish policy assessment.
To view the rules for the selection of Westminster and Scottish Parliamentary Candidates in Scotland, click here.
Elections to the National Assembly for Wales are split between two types of seats:
There are 40 constituency seats, selection for which is carried out on a constituency basis. There are five regions, where four members are elected from each region. List candidates are selected by a one-member one-vote system across each region. In order to be a candidate in Wales at either Assembly or Westminster elections, candidates must have completed an assessment centre and the Welsh policy assessment.
To view the rules for the selection of Westminster and Welsh Parliamentary Candidates in Wales, click here.
European elections operate on the d'Hondt system of voting, which requires each party to have Euro-Regional list of candidates, ranked in order of preference. You can apply for selection in as many regions as you want but may only be included on one final list. To qualify for inclusion on the Lib Dem list, candidates must complete the relevant sections of the exercises on the assessment day.
To view the rules for the selection of European Candidates, click here.
The approval and selection of Parliamentary Candidates is the constitutional responsibility of each of the three Federal State Parties of England, Scotland and Wales. Each State has an elected Candidates Committee, which takes the decisions and sets the policies that govern the processes of the approval, selection and review of their Parliamentary Candidates. In England, this is undertaken by the English Candidates Committee (ECC); in Scotland, the Scottish Campaigns and Candidates Committee (SC&C); and in Wales, the Welsh Candidates & Campaigns Committee (WCC).
Each of these State Candidate Committees has an elected Chair who represents the Committee on a variety of bodies including the Joint States Candidates Committee (JSCC).
In England, each English region also has a Regional Candidates' Chair (RCC), who is responsible for organising assessment centres, appointing Returning Officers, and providing advice and support to members going through the approvals and selection processes.
The current State Candidates' Chairs
Margaret Joachim – English Candidates' Chair
Katy Gordon - Scottish Candidates' Chair
Nick Tregoning - Welsh Candidates' Chair
Contacts for Regional Candidates' Chairs (in England only)
Devon & Cornwall - Sheila Hobden
East Midlands - Pat Wildgoose
East of England - Kate Sayer
London - Brian Orrell
North West - Bruce Hubbard
Northern - Doreen Huddart
South Central - Rosalyn Gordon
South East - Margaret Ticehurst
West Midlands - Hugh Warner
Western Counties - Gill Pardy
Yorkshire & the Humber - Richard Brett
The Candidates' Office
The staff in the Candidates' Office, based at the Lib Dem headquarters, are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the approvals process for the English, Scottish and Welsh Parties. They act as the first port of call for any general enquiry about standing as a Parliamentary Candidate, and can provide advice on the best person to speak with at a regional or state level if you have a more specific query.
Their responsibilities include sending out application forms, processing returned applications (including sending information about new applicants to Candidates' Chairs) and providing support and advice to members going through the approvals and selection processes. They are also responsible for providing support and advice to the elected committees and Chairs.
Patrick Callaghan - Candidates Officer
8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE
020 7340 4993
Here are some common terms and acronyms that you may hear people using about approval and selection:
PPC - Prospective Parliamentary Candidate - the person who will fight the seat for the Party at the next General Election
PSPC – Prospective Scottish Parliamentary Candidate
PAC – Prospective Assembly Candidate (Welsh Assembly)
PEPC - Prospective European Parliamentary Candidate
RO – Returning Officer - the person appointed by the region or state to make sure a selection is run fairly and according to the rules
ECC - English Candidates’ Committee - oversees the approval and selection of Candidates in England
SCC or C&C – Scottish Campaigns and Candidates’ Committee - oversees the approval and selection of Candidates in Scotland
WCC or CCC – Welsh Candidates’ and Campaigns Committee - oversees the approval and selection of Candidates in Wales
JSCC – Joint States’ Candidates’ Committee - co-ordinates the maintenance of standards in the approval and selection across all 3 States
RCC - Regional Candidates’ Chair - a member of the Regional Executive who has responsibility for approval and selection in that region. They also provide support and help to candidates throughout the approval and selection processes
The Liberal Democrats are committed to increasing diversity throughout the party, and encouraging those from a diverse range of backgrounds to represent the Liberal Democrats at all levels. The National Diversity Unit, based at Liberal Democrat HQ, is responsible for coordinating and promoting diversity initiatives across the Party. As part of this, the Unit provides additional mentoring and support to potential Parliamentary candidates from under-represented groups. If you are interested in receiving additional support to prepare for your assessment approval day, please contact Roxana Cimpeanu, Diversity Projects Coordinator, on email@example.com or 0207 227 1319.
Other organisations that may be able to offer help, advice or training are:
PCA – The Parliamentary Candidates Association (PCA) is the voice of Liberal Democrat candidates. The PCA aims to equip individuals with the necessary skills to become approved candidates, achieve selection and win elections by providing support, advice and tailored training. More information about the PCA can be found on its website www.libdempca.org.uk or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
CGB – Campaign for Gender Balance
LDDA – Liberal Democrat Disability Association
EMLD – Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats
LGBT+ - Liberal Democrats for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality