The division of the City into Wards is probably of Norman origin and the original number of 24 Wards was increased to 26 in 1394. Candidates for Alderman or Common Councilman are elected on their experience as competent businessmen and women and no political party is mentioned.
The Corporations major source of revenue is rates, which are used to run the City. Other income is generated from property rental, which is used to pay for three City schools as well as maintaining City open spaces, the Guildhall and the Mansion House.
The Bridge House Estates Fund is an accumulation of gifts dating back to medieval times. The proceeds of this fund are used exclusively to maintain Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and Blackfriars and Southwark Bridges.
The Corporation owns and controls Billingsgate, Leadenhall, Smithfield and Spitalfield markets by a charter dating back to the 14th Century.
The Corporation is responsible for highways, health, education, housing, police, libraries, art galleries, the monument and museums, within the City of London.
The Corporation, which is responsible for preserving the City’s many historic buildings, also runs the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey.
1.1 Read the job specifications for Common Councilman and Alderman on the City of London website being www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.
1.2 Attend Court of Common Council and one or more of the regular City Corporation Committees. All Common Council meetings commence in open session and are attended by members of the public. Common Council usually meets on a Thursday at 1pm approximately once every four weeks. Dates and times of this and other committees can be found on the City of London website. The Court of Alderman is also public but meetings are not very long and are purely formal.
1.3 Meet the existing Common Council Members / Alderman in the Ward where you are intending to stand (see City of London website as above for details of the Wards and the members).
1.4 Establish the timing of election. All Common Councilmen are re-elected every four years and the next election will be in March 2009. By-elections take place in between and depend on vacancies. Aldermen are elected for 6 years and the timing of these elections depends upon the timing of the Alderman’s original term of office. Keep in touch with the Electoral Services Office (see 2.1 below).
1.5 Find out about and join the Ward Club of the Ward in which you are intending to stand. The complete list of the Ward Clubs and information can be found either by “googling” the relevant Ward Club name (not all Ward Clubs have a website), or by enquiring of the existing Common Councilmen or writing to the named contacts in the City of London Directory and Livery Companies Guide known as the Blue Book.
1.6 The City of London website is a useful source of material with background history and information.
2.1 The Electoral Services Office at the City of London Corporation will provide a pack of documentation in respect of legal requirements. Obtain this at an early stage to see if you qualify and can fulfil the requirements. The Electoral Services Office is part of the Town Clerk’s department and they can be contacted via the main switchboard which is 020 7606 3030 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.2 Common Councilmen (but not Aldermen) need to be on the electoral roll (or have been resident in the City for the last 12 months or own a building in the City) but not necessarily in the Ward in which they wish to stand within the City of London. There are various ways in which this can be achieved.
2.3 It is necessary to have the support of existing electors within the Ward and those nominators can only be found by becoming familiar with the Ward and literally knocking on doors and meeting people. (A list of all voters is available from the Electoral Services Office which can be used for purposes of electioneering only). These nominees may well assist in encouraging others to vote.
2.4 An Alderman needs to be approved to sit as a JP or already be a JP and the process for obtaining this approval is set out in the pack from the Electoral Services Office.
2.5 An Alderman is also encouraged to meet an informal group of the senior and junior Aldermen in order to find out more about the role. That arrangement should be made via the Member and Electoral Services team in the Town Clerk’s Department (contact details in 2.1).
3.1 Having qualified and been nominated it is appropriate and necessary to contact the voters and meet them in order to persuade them to vote for you.
3.2 You should be aware that postal votes are available and many voters prefer to use this method. If so you may wish to encourage them to obtain the necessary forms. If someone has a postal vote this means that they will be receiving the voting paper some 7 -10 days before the day of the Ward Mote election and so any written communication to them needs to be timed to be received before they actually send in their postal vote.
3.3 You may wish to arrange personal meetings with voters but also produce a written election address or addresses which are posted or delivered to the various electors. For this purpose you must comply with electoral legislation requirements all of which are set out in the briefing pack from the Electoral Services Office.
3.4 Attendance at the Ward Mote when the election is called and when the voting is counted is usual and those dates will be advised to you in advance.
3.5 After the election it is necessary to make a return of expenses paid with receipts etc. to the Electoral Services Office.
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