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Access to Elected Office Fund Launched

Today (9 July) the Government is launching the Access to Elected Office Fund to provide practical support for disabled people who want to become an elected representative.

The Fund has been made available to help meet the additional support needs that a disabled person has that are associated with their disability. If this support were not provided, a disabled person may face an additional barrier in the selection and campaign processes compared to a non-disabled person.

The Access to Elected Office Fund offers individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be considered for selection as candidates for an election, or are standing for election.

The Fund will be open for applications until the end of March 2014.  It will help disabled candidates meet the additional costs they may face compared to a non-disabled person whether these are related to transport, communication, technology or support.

The Fund only covers the additional costs that a disabled person might face.  It does not cover costs that all candidates for elected office have to pay whether or not they are disabled, for example the costs of producing leaflets for campaigning.   It can only be used for costs associated with standing for elected office, not general living costs.

Convey is the independent administrator of the Access to Elected Office Fund.

The Fund is part of a wider strategy put in place by the Government; the Access to Elected Office strategy has been developed following last year’s consultation which sought proposals on a range of measures designed to help disabled people to overcome the extra disability-related barriers they face in trying to get elected.

The Strategy will provide support for disabled people who want to stand either for political parties or as independent candidates for the following elections and by-elections: UK Westminster elections, English local authority elections, English Mayoral elections and elections for Police and Crime Commissioners.

More information

For more details about the fund and the application process, visit the Access to Elected Office Fund website, access-to-elected-office-fund.org.uk. Or, you can contact the team at [email protected]

For more information about the Strategy, please visit www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/equality-public-political including links to the public consultation and the Government response to the consultation which was published in September 2011. You can contact the team at [email protected]

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On 15 November 2012, for the first time ever, the public across England and Wales will elect police and crime commissioners who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force area.

If you would like to find out more about Police and Crime Commissioners, please visit http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will ensure the policing needs of their communities are met as effectively as possible, bringing communities closer to the police, building confidence in the system and restoring trust.  If you would like to find out more about the role of the police and crime commissioners visit http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/public/

Police and crime commissioner candidates could have experience in the private, voluntary or public sector. They don’t have to be politicians to stand. They can be independent of political parties. This is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to stand and to make a difference.  If you would like to find out more about how to be a candidate and if you are eligible, please visit http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/candidates/

Key dates

  • Nominations will open 8 October 2012 and close 19 October 2012
  • The first PCC elections will take place on 15 November 2012

PCCs will take office on 22 November 2012.

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Closing date for applications for the Speaker’s Parliamentary Scheme is Monday 30 July

The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme is an initiative set up by Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, Eric Ollerenshaw OBE MP and Jo Swinson MP with strong support from the Speaker of the House of Commons. The Social Mobility Foundation administrates the scheme.  They want to encourage people from diverse backgrounds across the UK who wouldn’t normally feel that they could get a foot in the door of parliament to apply for the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements scheme to get a taste of working in politics.  For more detail and an application form, please visit http://www.socialmobility.org.uk/speakers-parliamentary-placements-scheme/

The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme provides a nine month paid work experience placement designed to open up Parliament to people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in politics but who would not be able to afford to undertake an unpaid internship. The Scheme aims to give successful candidates a detailed understanding of how the House of Commons operates and for them to gain work experience in the political sector along with the experience of working as part of a team in a small office environment.

Successful candidates will spend their time getting to understand parliament by working with an MP in their office from Monday – Thursday and spending Friday rotating through departments in the House of Commons to gain an insight into how bills are passed and how Parliament functions. Although the Scheme does not ask candidates to have any party affiliation, successful candidates will be working with an MP to help run their Westminster office and therefore will be expected to have an interest in and some knowledge of British politics.

The closing date for applications is 9am on Monday 30 July. It is expected that the first round of interviews will be starting from the week commencing 20th August. The Scheme is due to start in late-October 2012. Successful candidates will need to complete a comprehensive security check in order to gain full access to parliament.

The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme welcomes enquiries and applications from everyone and values diversity in its workforce.

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Advice available from the Electoral Commission

Information and advice on how applications to the fund need to be managed as part of the overall regulations around spending, donations and expenses is available from the Electoral Commission website.  If you would like to discuss your personal situation before you apply to the fund, you can contact them on 020 7271 0616 or by emailing [email protected]ralcommission.org.uk

If you would like guidance on whether you are eligible to stand at the election you are interested in, or would like to read the Electoral Commission’s guidance on candidate spending and donation returns, please go to http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/guidance/resources-for-those-we-regulate/candidates-and-agents

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