Once you have your Candidate Pack and the Formal Election Campaign is underway, you will hear a lot about Election Agents.
Don’t worry. It sounds like a very important role, but in a council election, you are unlikely to ever need one.
In fact, it is not uncommon for Election Agents to delay things up for candidates who are running on behalf of a Political Party, who will be unlikely to have a choice whether they use one or not.
You could say that an Election Agent is rather like a candidate manager who is recognised formally by the Electoral Process.
An Election Agent can do many things on your behalf, including submitting your Candidate Forms and your Election Return, after the Results are known. They can also assume the role of key point of contact with the Democratic Services Department and be the first port of call if there is a legal issue during the campaign.
As a lone Independent candidate, there will be very little benefit to you having an Election Agent.
In many ways it will be much better for you to assume the responsibilities of being your own Agent, unless you are unable to rely on the support of an Agent who has experience of the Electoral System and running in elections before.
The Political Parties usually have professional Election Agents who will work from a local or regional office, where in some cases several Election Agents will be based. Whilst they can take away a lot of the administrative requirements of the Election Process, they are also likely to be responsible and carrying out the same role for all the candidates running for that Party in that same Election. As such, times and deadlines can be stretched by the efforts of candidates which might not be as sharp as your own, as a Party Election Agent will group all of your submissions together, in order to save on their time.