Terms and conditions
The Access to Elected Office Fund is designed to help disabled people meet the additional support needs that are associated with their disability and their intention to stand for elected office. It was set up as part of the Government’s Access to Elected Office strategy, which aims to provide additional support to tackle the particular obstacles faced by disabled people who want to become MPs, councillors or other elected officials.
The fund will cover certain expenses a disabled person who wants to stand for elected office will have to pay, to help fund additional support that they may need when trying to get elected.
For disabled people who want to stand as a candidate for a political party, the fund is available at both the pre-selection and post-selection stages. However, the fund cannot provide money for anything that would be considered a ‘reasonable adjustment’ by the party itself as this should already be provided by law. For information about reasonable adjustments, please visit: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/equalities/public-political-equality/disabled-access-guidance/).
Spending limits, expenses and donation rules.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that any money applied for and claimed under this Fund, comply with electoral law.. Before you sign to accept your grant, please ensure you have checked that any money you receive from the Fund will be in line with electoral law, as set out in the Electoral Commission’s guidance on spending and donations. If you are at all unsure, it is advisable that you call the Electoral Commission for guidance on 020 7271 0616 or email on [email protected] before you submit any claim to the Fund. All claims are to be submitted to Access to Elected Office Fund, 16/18 Chapel Street, Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 8AT.
There are specific rules covering what candidates spend before an election on activities to promote their candidacy, or to criticise other candidates. Every type of election has different spending limits. There are also rules to make sure that candidate spending and donations are accurately recorded and reported. The rules cover most campaigning activities, including leaflets, advertising, offices and meetings.
“Personal expenses” are the costs incurred by the candidate in connection with the election. These include things such as the reasonable cost of a candidate’s own transport and overnight accommodation. You need to record them and report them on your spending return after the election. Personal expenses count towards the spending limit at some elections, so you need to check the rules for the election you want to stand in.
You should consult the Electoral Commission’s guidance for more information about the rules for each type of election. Links to the range of guidance for each election can be found at:
If you need any advice or guidance on how your spending (including your grant) would be covered by the rules, you must contact the Electoral Commission on 020 7271 0616 or email them via: [email protected]
If you are:
- a member of a political party
- an elected councillor
- an elected mayor
- a Member of one of the UK’s Parliaments and Assemblies, or
- a Member of the European Parliament,
you should be aware of rules covering donations and loans relating to your political activities outside of election periods.
You can find the Electoral Commission’s guidance on this subject at:
Please contact the Electoral Commission if you are not sure of how or whether you should report a donation on 020 7271 0616 or email [email protected]
If you are in receipt of benefits, you should check with the DWP about whether or not your entitlement would be affected by applying to the fund. Visit the DirectGov website http://www.direct.gov.uk
It is your responsibility to make sure that all money received and spent on standing for election complies with the law.
Accepting your grant
If you have been awarded a grant from the Access to Elected Office Fund, you will receive with your offer letter an acceptance form which must be signed and returned to Convey Ltd, 16/18 Chapel Street, Glossop SK13 8AT as soon as possible. We are unable to process any grant claims until the form has been signed and returned to us.
The grant is awarded solely towards the purpose that is outlined in your offer letter. Please note that your grant is subject to you agreeing to the terms and conditions of the grant fund.
Using your grant
Money from the fund can be used to meet the additional disability-related support needs that you face in standing for elected office compared to a non-disabled person. You also cannot use the fund for any costs that all candidates for elected office have to pay, whether or not they are disabled. This includes the costs of producing leaflets for campaigning and so on.
As the fund intends to address the additional support costs a disabled person might face, you can only use it for costs you have to pay as part of standing for election as a result of your disability. You cannot use it for general living costs or disability-related costs that are not related to your efforts to stand for elected office.
If you want to stand for a political party, the fund cannot provide money for anything that would be considered a ‘reasonable adjustment’ by the party itself as this should already be provided by law. For information about reasonable adjustments, please visit: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/equalities/public-political-equality/disabled-access-guidance/)
Change of circumstances
If your circumstances change after we approve your application (for example if your health changes which could mean your costs need to increase), you must inform us. We will then deal with this on an individual basis and advise on whether your application needs to be re-assessed. It is your responsibility to advise us, preferably in writing, of any changes in circumstance on which your application was based.
Claiming your grant
You do not have to claim your grant in one lump sum. You may claim your grant in several smaller amounts instead of one full payment. For example, you may want to recover the costs of hiring a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter once a month, rather than waiting to recover the costs all together in a single claim. Please remember that the total amount you claim must come to no more than the maximum amount awarded.
When you are ready to claim your funding, please send us copies of invoices and receipts and a breakdown of the costs using the claim form template provided. Once we receive these, we will arrange your payment.
Payment of funds
You can choose for us to pay your money by cheque or BACS (electronic transfer).
If you want us to pay you by BACS (electronic transfer), you will need to send us a bank statement or a cancelled cheque to prove the account you want us to pay the money into is your account.
Payments will be processed on the second and last Friday of the month.
Health and safety and environmental regulations
Access to Elected Office expects all recipients to comply with current regulations and policies including Health and Safety and Environmental regulations with regard to the use and disposal of goods, services or equipment purchased by this grant. A copy of the current regulations can be obtained from your local authority.
Monitoring and evaluation
We may contact you to ask if you would be willing to allow us to write about your experiences to encourage others to stand for elected office. This is voluntary. If you wish to do this, we would agree with you the words to be used. We will contact you for feedback about your experience of applying to the fund to help us improve the service for others.
Any information you give will help us evaluate how effective we have been in promoting the fund to a wide range of people across the country. We will not pass your personal details to anyone else without your permission unless we are required to do so by law (for example, as part of a criminal investigation). We will keep the information you provide in your application secure and confidential.
Regulations and policies
The Access to Elected Office Fund has is a limit of £10,000 for each person applying in every calendar year (1 January to 31 December). You can submit more than one application to the fund but together they must not exceed £10,000 a year. The funds applied for must also be within the spending guidelines for the election you are working towards. The Electoral Commision can be contacted on 020 7271 0616 or email [email protected] to provide guidance on this.
The minimum amount for which you may apply is £250 – this is because smaller grants are not cost-effective because of the processing costs involved.
You must make a separate application for each type of election you want to stand for (or be considered for selection for). This is because there are different expenses rules for different types of election. In this case, you must support each application with a business case and evidence.
If you have applied to the fund previously but have not been successful, you are eligible to apply again, either in relation to the same election or a different one. However, please remember that you have to support each application with a business case and evidence to support your case.
Last updated: July 9, 2012
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