Party Notices - January 2017

Future Women MPs weekend / Call for Returning Officers and Candidate Assessors / Federal Committee Vacancies

Please get in touch with HQ on or 0131 3372314 if you need any further information.

Call for more Candidate Assessors and Returning Officers 

Due to increasing volume of workload, the Scottish Party urgently needs to recruit more volunteer Candidate Assessors and Returning Officers.

Would you like to contribute to ensuring all our candidates standing for parliament are fit to represent the party?  Our Candidate Assessors assess applicants for approval against a set of robust criteria, during day long assessment centres.  The venue is party HQ in Edinburgh, Candidate Approval Days are held on Saturdays or Sundays to allow those who work during the week to participate.  Key skills are an ability to listen, consider evidence objectively and impartially and judge whether standards are met.  Full training is given (residential weekend training course, held at various venues usually in England).  Approximately 4-6 Approval Days are held per year and assessors are rotated so you wouldn’t be expected to cover them all, as usually only 2 assessors are required per Approval Day.

Once candidates are approved, they apply for selection for parliamentary seats (Westminster, Holyrood or Europe).  Returning Officers oversee the whole selection process, which varies from simple single applicant processes for limited prospect seats all the way through to intensively competitive, multi-applicant target seats.  There is a complete set of rules governing all aspects of the selection process and Returning Officers work with the local party to ensure that they are complied with, that applicants for the seat are informed of each stage, ensure deadlines are met and oversee counting of the ballots.  Key skills are organisational, time management, diplomacy particularly in relation to local party and candidates, clarity of thought and expression, attention to detail and sound judgement. There is a one day training course, held in Scotland, to become a Returning Officer.  The main demand is in the year leading up to each Westminster and Scottish elections.  Experienced Returning Officers might run a number of limited prospect seat contests simultaneously but would usually only run one target seat selection at a time.  Geographical mobility is taken into account when requests are made to Returning Officers to oversee a selection.

Both roles are an opportunity to contribute to the party behind the scenes, which is particularly attractive to those in restricted posts or those who cannot be overt in campaigning activities.  All activity takes place in the evenings or weekends so both roles can fit with a full time job.  Any experience in recruitment and selection or training and development would be helpful but the fundamental requirement is a desire to be involved and an enthusiasm for achieving the best candidates to represent the party in Scotland.  We are committed to achieving diversity in our pool of assessors and RO’s so we welcome expressions of interest from across the party, from both new and more experienced members.

For an informal discussion about either role, please contact Katy Gordon via HQ at Clifton Terrace, on 

Could you represent the Scottish Liberal Democrats on Federal Committees?

A number of opportunities have arisen for Scottish representatives on Federal Committees. These are open to all Scottish members. The positions are voluntary.

Meetings normally take place in London but you can usually dial in. However, it is useful to attend a couple of meetings a year in person if possible so that you can get to  know the people you are working with. Expenses are payable. Travel costs are reimbursed and you can claim an amount for food and accommodation but you have to pay the first £15 of every claim.  If that would cause hardship, the Scottish Party may pay the difference. 

The vacancies are as follows: 

People Development Committee

This is a new committee dealing with all matters relating to improving the membership experience, recruiting more members, candidates, diversity, and training. 

Federal Policy Committee

It is vitally important that we have a representative on this committee, which develops the party’s policy to ensure that the Scottish dimension is properly understood. A flavour of the work of the committee can be found by reading this report on Liberal Democrat Voice

Federal International Relations Committee

This committee deals with international matters and relationships with sister parties across the world. Its role is particularly important as Brexit proceeds and, again, the Scottish viewpoint is extremely important. 

How to apply

If you are interested in any of these positions, please send your details (name, membership number, local party) and a 200 word statement in support of your candidacy  to by 12 noon on Friday 3rd February. The Scottish Executive will then vote on nominations received by Friday 10th February. 

If successful, you will serve until 31 December 2017. You will be able to stand again in the Scottish Party’s elections at the end of this year which will elect our representatives for the following 2 years.  

Future Women MPs Weekend - 4th -5th March

A Future Women MPs Weekend will be held on Saturday 4 – Sunday 5 March 2017 at the Jurys Inn Hotel in Milton Keynes.

Whether you are already an approved candidate or are yet to take that initial first step, this residential training weekend is the perfect way to kick start your journey to Westminster.

Find out more about this event here


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