There are basically two ways to generate the right to stand in a City of London ward election as Common Councillor.
As a voter as well as a candidate
The first way is by making sure you are registered on a ward list. This means that you can vote as well as stand as a candidate in an election. You are entitled to be listed on a ward list either by
- being a resident or a rate payer (i.e. a partner of a firm or having a share of a tenancy), or
- by becoming a voting appointment according to the 2002 Ward Elections Act – through membership of a workforce. Every firm should have a Duly Authorized Officer who will ensure that nominations to become a voting appointment meet the requirements of Clause 4 of the Act (i.e. that they represent the composition of the particular workforce in question) and are subsequently signed off with the City Corporation.
To be on a ward list you need to make sure you have processed your application by 16 December 2012 when the corrections and challenges to the provisional ward lists are closed. The final ward lists are published on 16 February.
As a candidate alone
The second way is through having a share in a tenancy in the City. This provides a way for non-City residents to stand – that is almost everyone – and is commonly used by Common Councillors as a means of doing so.
If you wish to qualify as a voter in a ward on the basis of a tenancy of premises in that ward (see above), you must occupy the premises by physical presence.
If, however, you wish to qualify as a candidate alone for election to the Council by virtue of owning a freehold or leasehold in the City, there is no requirement for occupation by physical presence. Moreover no minimum rent or fee is required by the legislation.
The City Reform Group can provide all those individuals wishing to stand with a template tenancy document and we can also advise on leaseholders and freeholders who are happy to enter into such a relationship with candidates. For example, previous candidates have rented a wall of a café as a gallery at a rent of £5 per annum – this provided a tenancy and thus the right to stand as a candidate.
One caveat: the maximum number of individuals who may qualify through sharing a leasehold tenancy (no personal presence required) is 4.
In addition, all candidates need to acquire the Freedom of the City. Normally this requires a proposer and seconder who are liverymen or Councillors but this requirement is waived when the purpose of seeking the Freedom is candidacy.
This needs to be done in advance of the nomination papers being submitted, along with proof of the tenancy. There is a small charge for the Freedom (currently £30).
The nomination papers will need to identify where in the City the tenancy is held although there is no requirement to stand in that particular ward in the election.
All the necessary information is available from the City of London’s own website (www.cityoflondon.gov.uk).