Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

How to be a candidate

November 29, 2013 2:28 PM

Welcome to the Welsh 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:

  • Communication Skills
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Thinking and Judgement
  • Representing People
  • Resilience
  • Values in Action

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 [email protected]. 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:

  • Your contact details
  • Basic background information
  • The contact details of three referees, one of which must be a Party member
  • A signed a declaration and code of conduct form


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:

  • There is no "right" or "wrong" way to complete the exercises
  • Several different assessors will mark you throughout the assessment centre
  • Assessors must show evidence from your performance in the assessment centre to support your grade
  • You will be tested on relevant Party Policy questions

f 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.

The Selection Process

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:

  • Contact the Returning Officer named in the advert
  • Complete the application form from the Returning Officer by the given deadline
  • Await the short-listing decision from the Local Party Selection Committee (you may be asked to attend a short-listing interview)

f 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.

Welsh Parliamentary Elections

Elections to the National Assembly for Wales are split between two types of seats:

  • Constituency based first past the post seats
  • Regional seats that are elected using the d'Hondt, or closed party list, method

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 Parliamentary Elections

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.

Who's who in approval and selection

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 Wales this is undertaken by the Welsh Candidates & Campaigns Committee (WCC).

The Candidate Committees has an elected Chair who represents the Committee on a variety of bodies including the Joint States Candidates Committee (JSCC).

The current Welsh Candidates' Chair is Nick Tregoning, who can be contacted via [email protected]

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
[email protected]

8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE

Carl Quilliam - Candidate Liaison Officer
[email protected]
8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE

For information

In July 2012, Lynne Featherstone MP launched the Access to Elected Office Strategy to provide additional support for disabled people seeking elected office. The Strategy has been designed to level the playing field for potential disabled candidates and tackle the currently low levels of disabled people in political life.

As part of this strategy, they have:

  • Set up a new fund to help disabled people who plan to stand for elections with the extra disability-related costs

Go to www.access-to-elected-office-fund.org.uk for more details

  • Provided new training and development opportunities for people who are interested in a political career; including launching an introductory online training course and paid internships on the Speaker's Parliamentary Placement scheme.

Go on www.access-to-elected-office-training.org.uk for more details on the online training

Go to www.socialmobility.org.uk/speakers-parliamentary-placements-scheme for more details on the Parliamentary Placement Scheme, which is open for applications until 30 July 2012.

  • Produced new online guidance on reasonable adjustments to help political parties meet their legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

Go to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/equalities/public-political-equality/disabled-access-guidance/ to access the guidance

Please visit www.homeoffice.gov.uk/access-elected-office for more information about the strategy.

You can also contact the team at [email protected]

Jargon Buster

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

Mentoring & Support

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 protected] 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 [email protected].

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