The AIM of Officially NONE OF THE ABOVE is to have Candidates on every ballot paper in every Election who have been selected by the Community – so that there is a legitimate and qualified choice.
Selecting your Candidates for Endorsement will be rather like being an employer who is setting up and managing a recruitment process.
The key difference will be that there isn’t one person or two, but potentially an entire Community of local People that will be making the final decision and choice.
Because of the clear need and requirement to respect and protect personal data, some of the process may need to be undertaken by a committee that is appointed by your Community Meeting, which can then make a recommendation or perhaps offer several People who can then speak to the whole Community and answer questions that will help everyone to settle upon the final choice.
The most important part of the Candidate Selection process will be the very first job your Community Meeting will have to complete.
This will be to identify, agree and implement the framework or terms under which your appointed committee will then makes its recommendations or present its final choice.
Some things that you should all discuss and consider:
No person should automatically be precluded from consideration to be endorsed by your Community as a Candidate for reasons other than those which would disqualify any person from becoming a registered candidate in the relevant Election to be held.
Please get in touch with your Local Council to check what they are.
However, a successfully Endorsed Candidate should, at least:
- Already reside within the Community that they would represent or live very close by.
- Offer experience of life which has enabled them to understand the priorities and behaviour of others, from across different social and demographic groups.
- Offer sufficient experience of holding responsibility of some kind, within business or some other organisation, where they have demonstrated an appreciation of how organisations and services work.
- Be patient and caring for others, with a clear ability to listen, understand and empathise whilst remaining objective where different perspectives and experiences may be involved.
- Have confidence and the ability to speak and explain real life concepts to others objectively and to present alternative options in a way that is accessible to all and basically makes sense.
- Possess evident self-awareness and the ability to consider the impact of their actions upon others, as well as the likely actions of others upon themselves, all in ‘real time’.
- Be aspirational rather than idealistic. And practical but not negative in their demeanor and approach.
- Have skills and knowledge that would clearly be beneficial to the Community, when used in a relevant political role.
- Be driven by public service, rather than by personal ambition of any kind.
Your Community Meeting should avoid selecting a Candidate, purely because:
- They are popular or already have some kind of ‘standing’ in the Community.
- You like them.
- They sound credible and appear to know ‘all the right things’.
- They already have a ‘following’ of some kind.
- They seem to have a lot of ideas.
Under no circumstances should your Community Meeting be asked to consider any person for endorsement as a Candidate, if:
- They are a current member of any Political Party or activist organisation.
- They are a sitting / elected member of any Council, or Parliament or of any other publicly appointed or elected body.
- They have been a member of any existing Political Party within the past 5 years.
To be fair, finding People who have the most appropriate kind of experience and approach who actually want to be involved in Politics, given the way that things are and how they have been, won’t be the easiest task. At least right at the very beginning.
However, finding the right People from within your local Community is certainly nowhere near impossible.
The PROCESS will be made much easier by following each of the TEN STEPS to Officially NONE OF THE ABOVE, as rigorously and as diligently as you can.
The reality is that once People start to become aware that there is a growing, non-political option that’s all about doing what’s right for everyone, many more good People will be interested in coming forward to serve on behalf of our Communities than those who are prepared to take the risk that Politics offers them right now.
Choosing your Candidate Selection Committee
Choosing the members of your Community Meeting who will sift through, research and initially interview potential Candidates for Endorsement is just as important a job as selecting the Candidates to stand in Elections themselves.
As with Candidate Selection, the ability to be objective is key.
Selection Committee Members must be able to look at every part of the information they have and go in search of and be able to consider it without letting their own experiences and biases get in the way.
You will need at least three People and preferably five or even seven to take on this role.
Of these, it may become apparent that one member will have more of these attributes and as such may be well placed to take on a chair or facilitator role, where they can point out where certain things may have excessive influence on how Candidates are perceived in some way.
Whatever process you decide upon and whether you have a Candidate Selection Committee or not, there is absolutely no reason to hide anything, other than any personal information that it is only right and that it might be necessary to protect.
Please research handling personal data and The Office of The Information Commissioner if unsure.
When your Community Meeting has agreed and set the Terms for Candidate Selection, these should be published in full online, with links highlighted and made available across all of the social media platforms that you are using and making available publicly.
It is essential that the process your Community Meeting uses to select, and Endorse Candidates for Elections is clear, agreeable and fair to everyone – with the balance of fairness always weighted towards the Community as a whole, rather than what will be helpful to any particular Candidate.
PLEASE REMEMBER: Public Representation IS NOT A JOB. IT IS A RESPONSIBILITY.
For this reason alone, it is essential that no part of this whole process is compromised by entertaining even the smallest bias towards what any individual involved within it may want.
Presentation, Questions and Answers
No matter the process your Community Meeting decides upon to get there, the final decision and therefore the Endorsement of a Candidate by the Community, MUST come from an overall Vote of the Community Meeting itself.
Whilst the Candidate Selection Committee may have made a selection, or ideally presented several preferred choices for the Community Meeting to make its choice or choices from, it is essential that all those members of the local Community taking part in the final Vote have had the opportunity to see the ability of the candidate(s) to represent them, demonstrated BEFORE that Vote takes place.
One of the best ways to achieve this, beyond an open Question & Answer session, will be to ask the final candidates to talk through their understanding of a complex area of public policy that the Community Meeting has already identified as being important.
Then ask them to go through, in detail, and explain their understanding of each and every aspect of that issue. How they would go about finding a solution, and what their considerations for reaching a choice of solution would then be.
How many Candidates does your Community Meeting need to Endorse?
This may sound like a silly question to ask at first glance, as many of us are used to the idea that we Vote for one person to represent an area in any Election.
That’s certainly true for Parliamentary Elections when we are voting for an MP to represent us.
However, it’s not always the case for Local Elections, when Councillors are being elected.
Council Wards for Borough/District and County/Unitary Authorities or Councils can often have multiple seats.
So, it’s not unusual to be electing 2 different Councillors or perhaps even 3 at the same time – meaning that Voters will need to choose that number of candidates to support when they actually come to Vote.
By rule of thumb, the more local the Council or the smaller the geographical area it covers, the more candidates – and Votes on one ballot, local People could have. The very first time I was elected as a Councillor to a Town Council, my Seat was one of 6!
Therefore, your Community Meeting will need to endorse the same number of Candidates for the number of Seats or Vacancies to be filled, that there are.
This information will be available from your local Democratic Services or Elections department and more information about the different Councils and the Tiers of Government can be found on my FREE to read, web version of How to get Elected.
REMEMBER: The AIM of Community Meetings with Officially NONE OF THE ABOVE is to provide all Voters with the exact number of Candidates to fill any elected positions that are vacant within our current System of Government.
The Community Meeting will select those Candidates through the Officially NONE OF THE ABOVE process, just like the Political Parties use their own processes to.
The VERY BIG difference is that Candidates endorsed by Community Meetings will be selected to be genuine Public Representatives who work for and on behalf of the Community. Rather than being Candidates who will always be working for someone, somewhere else and out of sight, with an agenda that isn’t in yours or your Community’s best interests.
When it comes to the final Vote of the Community Meeting and the Candidate Endorsement itself, the Vote to achieve this MUST be conducted in the fairest way that it can be.
On the face of it, it would appear that the easiest way to be assured of legitimacy would be to work with a simple show of hands.
However, when everyone can see what everyone else is doing, it can too easily mean that ‘group think’ or fear of offending or upsetting certain People from within the local Community can get to work. This is something you will always need to be mindful of.
Remember, if the PROCESS and METHOD are compromised at any stage, then the real AIM of all of the work and effort made will not have been achieved. The Community WILL NOT have the chance to be represented properly and legitimately in the way that it should.
Therefore, passing a ballot paper or slip of paper with the name(s) of each candidate listed to each member of the Community who is voting, and asking them to place a tick against the name of one of the proposed candidates listed, will almost certainly be the right way to complete the voting process and to ensure that it has been fairly done.
Supporting The Candidate
Once your Community Meeting has endorsed your Candidate(s), the work doesn’t end there.
The process of supporting your Candidate(s) to connect with everyone across the Community is your next essential step.
You should use all of the social media platforms that you have to make People aware of who your Community Meeting has Endorsed, and therefore who has the Community Meeting’s qualified support.
One thought on “STEP 10: Hold meetings to identify your Community representatives and agree what happens next”