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Buckingham Liberal Democrats

What's the role?

A key role in every campaign, Agents are legally responsible for the actions and published claims of their candidates. They must approve all campaign communications. They must authorise and pay all election bills. And they must ensure that candidates and campaigners are aware of the law and comply with it.

Some agents are also the campaign manager and so need to understand how to lead effective campaigns. In other places, a different person is the campaign manager and the agent's role is narrowed to ensuring that all necessary legal steps are followed.

Being an Agent is an important and rewarding role which places you at the heart of our active democracy, but it must be taken seriously. While the party actively encourages volunteers to come forwards to be agents, we recommend that you only do so if you have a reasonable experience of campaigns, have an organised approach and are able to manage a campaign and keep it within the law.

When you are learning what it takes to be an agent, starting off with a lower-profile and lower-pressure contest often makes sense. This could be a local council by-election, or a non-target seat at a general election.

Key tasks

  • Understand the law and Electoral Commission regulations. Agents have to know the rules inside out.
  • Agents have to ensure that candidates know the rules, so will spend time with them training them in what they are and are not allowed to do.
  • Candidate management: during a live campaign, you'll spend your time supporting your candidate(s) and keeping them on track.
  • Keep a level head under pressure and turn for help or advice to appropriate sources, such as the election law helpline which the party provides during elections.
  • Download a copy of the General Election Agents Manual. Refer to this at all stages of your campaign. Watch out for updates to this manual which may happen at any time, even during a live campaign.

Skills & Attributes

  • Knowledge of election law and an ability to apply it.
  • Patience with others, to ensure that you are training your candidates properly.
  • Comfortable filling in forms and other detailed administrative tasks.
  • Comfortable managing finances, especially for more intensive campaigns where this can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Time

Even in seats where we are doing relatively little campaigning, Agents are still needed. This may be as little as an hour or two a week for the duration of the campaign and afterwards. But where we are fighting an intensive campaign, much more time is required.

How to Apply

You should register your interest with the Executive Committee. As the Agent is a particularly important role, with legal and financial implications, you should try to come to either the Autumn or Spring party conference, and attend the agents training.

Download the Nomination Form here