How the city works

The City Ward Elections

For a very extensive review of the processes click here

For a detailed summary - see below

Common Council Elections  - structure and processes 
– based on a presentation made to Lime Street Ward Club 18th Feb 2013 by Peter Cave (Lower Warden)

What follows is a personal viewpoint of the various roles, rules and regulations and should NOT be relied on in any way for those seeking Election...... 

The two major documents;   
The Ward Mote Book
Guidance Notes for Candidates and Agents

Why are elections in the City of London somewhat different from a “typical” Election ? 

Because of the City’s Historic Structure and unusual demographics.
Area  Approx 1 square mile  
Population Around 7,500 residents and 340,000 workers commuting every day into/from the City.. 

Only area in the country where, to try to offer a truly representative  electorate, votes are available to Residents and City based organisations (non-residential votes) 

Important to realise that non-residential votes are NOT a block vote but secret individual votes. In addition all the City Rules and Regulations make it very clear that each individual organisation should in allocating its votes try to create a fair representation of its own organisation.  

The government of the City discharged by the Corporation through three assemblies:

Court of Aldermen
25 Aldermen, including the Lord Mayor and the Recorder of London

Role of the Recorder
The Senior Circuit Judge at the Old Bailey
 - Legal advisor to the Court of Aldermen 

Role of the Court of Aldermen
Until the Mid 14th C. it ran the City of London – this responsibility was then transferred to the Court of Common Council

The Court of Aldermen meets 9 times a year at Guildhall

Duties include;
- Agree (or not) those being put forward for Freeman of the City of London
- Approving the Formation of Livery Companies
- Approving Applications for Freedom of the City
- Overseeing the Management of the Mansion House
- Making Nominations to the Court of Common Council for the appointment of Aldermen to City of London Committees 

Also to appoint the Sword Bearer
                            City Marshal
                            Common Cryer and Serjeant at Arms

Although all of these three roles are ceremonial – the holders of the posts are also all involved in wide range of roles behind the scenes supporting the Lord Mayor and the Corporation.

The most important role of the Court of Alderman is to chose the City’s Lord Mayor
- must be an Alderman
- must have been a Sherriff
It is the Court of Aldermen who decide who goes forward to Common Hall.

Common Hall 
Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Liverymen of the City Livery Companies (at least one year's standing and a Freemen)

Main role is to Elect the 2 Sheriffs on Mid-Summer Day
- one will be an Alderman (very likely to become Lord Mayor)
- one will often be a Common Councilman but not necessarily 

Common Council (the third of the Assemblies) 
Lord Mayor, Aldermen and 100 Common Councilmen from the 25 Wards

The decision making body – based on an extensive Committee Based system

Who can be a Common Councilman
A person must at the date of nomination, and at the date of election, be:
18 years or over
Freeman of the City of London
A British subject, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or a citizen of another member state of the European Union
Registered on the City of London Ward Lists (an elector)
Own freehold or leasehold land in the City - maximum number of  joint tenants who can qualify is four
Have resided in the City for 12 months preceding the date of Nomination/Election and intends to reside here until the date of election 
Not be disqualified  
e.g., bankruptcy or conviction of fraud or crime for which a prison sentence has been imposed. 

The candidate must submit a Nomination Paper subscribed (signed) by five registered electors from the Ward that the candidate is standing for election in.

The Candidate must also complete a Consent to Nomination form on which the candidate states their qualification to be a candidate and consents to be nominated.

The period for submissions of nominations once the election has been called by the Sheriff is 10 days.

How many CC’s in a Ward ?
This depends on the expected number of residents and workers in the Ward and is reviewed every few years. 

To attempt to achieve a degree of balance, Ward  Boundaries and number of CC’s in each Ward (Minimum 2) will be debated and possibly changed every few years.

To get a flavour of the reasoning and issues see City of London Ward Boundary Review Final Recommendations

 e.g. Lime Street . From 2013 we lost the southern side of Leadenhall Market to Langbourn Ward BUT they in turn lost an area at the western  end of their Ward to Walbrook.

However Lime Street gained a CC (from 3 to 4) in view of ongoing property developments such as The Leadenhall Building (“Cheese Grater”) which has amongst its tenants the AON Group, this being their Head Office. (Taken around 8 floors or so,  from late 2015 – Approx 2,000 staff)

Specifically 4 Wards are deemed as “Residential Wards”  with the aim it seems of ensuring that these 4 wards maintain around 20 CC

Aldersgate       6 CCs

Cripplegate      8 CCs

Portsoken        4 CCs

Queenhithe     2 CCs

N.B. Another 18 are spread across Farringdon within and Farringdon without 

As of the Feb 2013 review. 
No of Common Councilmen
Farringdon Without                       10

Cripplegate                                   8

Castle Baynard                              8

Farringdon Within                          8

Aldersgate                                    6

Bishopsgate                                  6

Aldgate                                         5

Coleman Street                              4

Lime Street                                   4

Portsoken                                      4

Tower                                           4

Broad Street                                  3

Cheap                                           3

Cordwainer                                    3

Cornhill                                          3

Langbourn                                      3

Bassishaw                                      2

Billingsgate                                     2

Bread street                                    2

Bridge and Bridge Without                 2

Candlewick                                      2

Dowgate                                         2

Queenhithe                                      2 

Vintry                                              2

Walbrook                                         2


Under what rules are the elections run ?
City of London Ward Elections are governed by Acts of Common Council, the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1957 and the City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002.

They are also governed, in part, by national legislation including Representation of the People Acts and Regulations and influenced by the Electoral Commission Guidance notes  (Especially the Guidance notes for Candidates) 

Who can Vote ?
Those who, on the qualifying date: - 1st September before the Election are;
Owners or tenants of land or building shown on a local non-domestic rating list, in that Ward

Residents in that Ward
-2 residences, 2 wards – 1 Vote!
Persons appointed in writing as voters by a “qualifying body” which ordinarily occupies as owner or tenant any premises situated in that Ward, 
Must be also be; 
Citizen of the UK, Commonwealth Citizens or Citizens of the Republic of Ireland or relevant citizens of the European Union.

18 or over

Registered in the appropriate Ward List

Ward List
Responsibility of the Town Clerk (also referred to in this context as the Ward Clerk – not to be confused with the Hon Ward Clerk – see later)

Not  constantly amended.

No system of rolling registration for Ward elections in the City.
Voters need to register every year

The Corporation tries by various means to achieve as full and as active a list as possible giving two opportunites to register by creating a provisional list and then a final list 2 months later

Qualifying Bodies
For Lime Street the key area of interest as we have very few residential voters.  

Qualifying body" means;
A body corporate (i.e. a company)
An unincorporated body other than a partnership (for example a Livery Company).

Where do partnerships fit in ?
LLPs (Limited Liability Partnerships) treated as a Body Corporate
True partnerships (likely to be smaller operations) - each partner has a vote

How many votes ?
Depends on the size of its workforce.  
1 for a workforce of up to 5
1 for every 5 workers up to 50 
PLUS 1 for every 50 workers
N.B. Remember these are Secret, individual votes.

i.e. AON Group in The Leadenhall Building have somewhere around 50 votes.

As mentioned earlier the businesses are asked to try to ensure that as far as is reasonably practicable, that the appointments it makes reflects the composition of its workforce

Who can be nominated ?
There are various rules re who can be nominated mainly to do with period of time working in the Ward or The City
Principal or only place of work is within the City and has been for the whole of the twelve months preceding the qualifying date (1st September year before the election )

Works for the qualifying body proposing to appoint him/her and has done so during the whole of that period

Person has had his principal or only place of work within the City for an aggregate period of at least:  

Five years during the whole  of which time he has worked exclusively for the qualifying body proposing to appoint him; or 
Ten years in any other case  and at least part of the period relied on falls within the five years preceding  the qualifying date.

Basically; All persons whose principal or only place of work on the qualifying date is the premises occupied by the body in the Ward – can also include retired people (I believe ?) 

How many do vote ?
Going through the elected seats in the Wards over the past few years  (many are uncontested), the normal %age of votes cast seems be between 20% to 30% of the electorate.

Lime Street seems to  have a substantially higher percentage  - it has been between 40% - 50%+

Time Table for the Whole Process
Based on an actual example;

Ward Lists 
Published and made available to Candidates       
Friday 8 February
Into force     16 February 2013

Notice of Election published and Nominations open 
16 February

Close of Nominations 26 February, 12 NOON

Last Date for withdrawals of candidature, 1 March, 12 NOON

Deadline for postal vote applications  6 March, 5pm

Dispatch of postal votes     8 March 2013

Deadline for proxy vote applications 13 March 
N.B. In future years – the dates will be very similar, perhaps changed by a day in case of weekends…..

An election is required ?
A “Notice of Poll” will be Issued by the Ward Clerk 
 - no later than 13th March

Ward Mote (Meeting) 
The word “mote”  itself gives an indication of the age and history of the whole process - it comes from the Saxon word – “moot” = meeting of senior people.

The day before the date of the election (whether there is an election necessary or not )  a Ward Mote will be held.
The Ward Mote is organised by our Hon. Ward Clerk (John Bristow).

The "moat" is chaired by our Alderman, accompanied by his Beadle - a very interesting 30/45 mins where all the Candidates get to make a presentation.

Where is the Ward Mote to be held ?
Must be held within the boundaries of the Ward - historically in Lloyd's Old Library

Who can attend ?
There is no express guidance as to who is entitled to attend the Wardmote.   

Prior to Section 2 of the Act of Common Council of 23 May 1968 only people entitled to attend a Wardmote were those on the Ward list for the Ward in which the Wardmote was being held (and other persons with the approval of the Alderman for the Ward)

If there is an election the Ward Mote will be adjourned with the election being held on the following day 8.00am – 8.00pm with the results being declared at around 9.30pm - 10.00pm that day.

Those who are elected cannot serve as CC’s until they have attended Guildhall for a short Ceremony, where they declare their allegiance.

Ward Clerk

Each Alderman appoints an Honorary Ward Clerk to be responsible for;
- instructing  the Ward Beadle to command attention at the commencement of the Ward Mote
- reading aloud the Precept (Rules of the Election)
-  assisting the Alderman in the running of  the Wardmote
- otherwise assisting in the Ward as directed by the Alderman

Ward Beadle (in our case Stephen Kipping, whose father was Ward Beadle before him) 
Opens, adjourns (if there is an election called) and closes the Ward Mote. 

The Ward Beadle is an officer of the Ward responsible to the Alderman and the voters of the Ward.   - some Wards have more than one Beadle. 

The duties of the office of Beadle have never been specified
- the Corporation has never  regulated the duties of the office.
The Beadle will accompany the Alderman on all formal occasions –  where appropriate carrying the  the Ward's Mace.

Ward Beadles are elected to the office at the Ward Mote as part of the Election process. 

Other things;
Election Agents
A candidate at a Ward election is required to have an election agent
- can be themselves

There are no defined criteria but under law certain people would be barred 
e.g. convicted or reported for a corrupt or illegal practice.

Must be appointed not later than the latest time for the delivery of notices of withdrawal of candidature. 

Duties of election agents include the following;
Being responsible in law for the proper management of the campaign
Being conversant with the law governing Ward elections in the City 
To make or authorise payments of "elections expenses“
Taking responsibility for the financial management of the campaign and making the necessary returns
Attending at polling stations and at the counting of the votes

Election expenses
Are defined as;
Expenses incurred at any time in respect of certain specified matters that are used for the purposes of a candidate's election after the date when that person becomes a candidate at the election

 e.g. advertising of any nature; unsolicited material addressed to electors; and transport costs

Some matters are excluded from the definition
 - accommodation which is the candidate's sole or main residence
 - transport and computing equipment acquired by the candidate principally for the candidate's own personal use

Election expenses can be incurred by the candidate, the candidate's election  agent or by any person authorised by either of them to incur expenses

How much ?
The election expenses incurred by a single candidate in a Ward election must not, in aggregate, exceed the maximum amount of £266 together with 5.2p for every elector in the Ward in which the candidate seeks election

Joint Candidates
-appoint the same election agent
-share accommodation or other services
-publish a joint election address

If 2, maximum amount for each candidates is reduced by a 25%.  
More than 2 joint candidates the maximum amount for each is reduced by a 33.33%