This page provides rules and guidelines to help candidates throughout the Elections period, if you're unsure about anything please do not hesitate to contact the Elections team.

Any information you might need during your time as a candidate can be found in our Candidate Handbook. Please ensure you read this document and, if you have any questions, get in touch with us at

The First Rule: You should not promote that you are running in the election or campaign until you have attended the UPSU Candidate Academy. This will take place once nominations have closed on Thursday 6th February. Candidate Academy will take place on Saturday 8th February 2020, all day event.

Read the rules below. Make contact with your key coordinator contact to find out more about the role (this can be done prior to or after nomination).

Start thinking about your manifesto - what do you want to improve or change? Start thinking about why students would vote for you and what could you do to persuade them you are the best candidate.

But remember keep this to yourself for now. Draw up plans but keep them secret until you come to Candidate Academy.

All general enquiries regarding Elected Officer positions can be sent to

Please include which position(s) you require information about and a member of Union staff will be in contact. 

The rules for the 2020 election can be found here.

Please contact with any queries.

The Union is committed to ensuring that you, as valued members and potential leaders, are able to run your campaign without too much constraint and bureaucratic rules. We are required legally by the 1994 Higher Education Act to ensure the elections process remains fair, inclusive and as such we have provided you with two frameworks to run your campaign to:

Guidelines – Identifying the respectful and preferred manner in which the Union expects that you will run your campaign

Rules – Identifying the legal and statutory compliance matters by which you must run your campaign. The rules within this page are enforceable and will carry a set of sanctions. All Elections rules are inline with or in addition to the rules set out within Union Bye-law 5. This can be read at
If in doubt please ask the Elections Team via

The next most important rule to remember is try and do what others have the opportunity to do- e.g, for example if you know professional footballer personally and want to use them in your campaign- if all candidates do not know that player and have the opportunity to use them in their campaign- you shouldn’t do it, as this is unfair and not equal to all, as not everyone has the same contact.

Candidates that break election rules may be subject to one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Campaigning without campaign materials
  • Social media ban
  • Removal from the Elections process
  • Ban on campaigning for a certain period of time
  • Written apology
  • Verbal apology
  • Or, a suitable sanction relevant to the “offence” if possible

The rules are set and overseen by the Deputy Returning Officer or DRO as they are most commonly known. The DRO is a member of UPSU Staff who ensures that the elections are fair and that candidates follow the rules.

The DRO for the 2020 Elections is Brendan McCarthy, Student Focus and Advice Manager.

Additionally an independent Returning Officer or RO has been appointed by the Union to ensure our elections are free and fair. The nominated Returning Officer for 2020 is Andy Morwood, a member of staff at the University of Westminster Students' Union. The Returning Officers' information will be supplied to candidates at the Candidate training day.

If a candidate is unhappy with an outcome decided by the DRO, this can be appealed to the RO, and they have the final say on all judgements made during the elections period.

A compulsory briefing for all candidates, including manifesto/campaign support and the rules of the elections. All nominees are expected to attend a short day of presentations and workshops.

The Candidate Academy will cover the Election process, rules of campaigning and offer guidance on creating your manifesto and publicity. You will not be recognised as a candidate in the elections until you have completed the academy day. This takes place on Saturday 8th February 2020.

Anyone who can not attend this date should contact to make other arrangements.

Candidates must wait until after the Candidate Academy to campaign on social media. It’s important for the sake of fairness that you do not mention on social media or anywhere else public that you are running for a position. You are not a candidate until confirmed formally at the Candidate Academy. You can only publicise your candidacy once you are allowed to by the Elections Team to ensure fairness in the election. You can mention to friends in passing that you’ve nominated yourself or are thinking about doing so but you must not ‘campaign’ and encourage voters before the agreed time and date.

Social Media is very difficult for us to monitor. Complaints about the use of social media that is deemed to be offensive or contravening election rules will only be investigated if screenshots are provided to the Deputy Returning Officer. We will always investigate matters that involve bullying and harassment online.

Slates are where you form a team of candidates to run with. Each candidate must run for a different position, so you can have a maximum of 5 candidates running on a slate together or a minimum of two (running for 2 positions). There are pros and cons to this approach.


  • Greater presence around campus
  • Pooling of resources
  • Support of each other
  • Feel like a team


  • One candidate gets in trouble or removed from the Election, you all do
  • One candidate gets a sanction imposed, you all do
  • Some of you may be elected, whilst some of you may not

You will have the opportunity to meet candidates for other positions at Candidate Academy and will have some time in the days following this event to form slate teams if you wish.

Campaigning can not begin until after the candidate academy has taken place. The rules on campaigning will be outlined at Candidate Academy. At this stage absolutely no campaigning should take place until you attend Candidate Academy on Saturday 8th February 2020.

The Union never condones behaviour that constitutes  bullying and harassment.

The University and Union define bullying as: offensive and unwanted behaviour, which violates a person’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, threatening or offensive environment or which humiliates or undermines an individual or group. Bullying can be carried out by an individual or group of people and can involve the abuse of authority.

The Law (Outlined in the Equality Act 2010) defines Harassment as:

  • Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading,humiliating or offensive environment for a person that is related to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation;
  • Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment);
  • Treating a person less favourably than another person because they have been the subject of, or have reacted to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.

The Union expects all candidates to also adhere to the Zero Tolerance Policy, which can be found here.

Please be aware that any reports of this type of behaviour will be investigated and could result in candidates being disqualified at any point in the process.

If you are unhappy with a decision or wish to make a complaint please contact the Deputy Returning Officer (DRO). Complaints will only be accepted in writing and must be provided in the first instance to the Deputy Returning Officer, as per Bye Law 5. The DRO & RO has been confirmed and can be found above. If you need to discuss anything prior to this please contact the Student Focus and Advice Manager at

All complaints must be submitted before the close of voting. A complaint should be raised no more than 7 days after the alleged issue has taken place and before the close of elections. The Returning Officer’s decision is final.

We recommend that you do not spend all your time worrying about posters being removed or who said what to who on Facebook Sometimes third parties such as Portsmouth residents and the University caretakers can remove things and things can be read differently by different people in social media posts. The more time and energy you spend complaining, the less time and energy you will have for campaigning!

We recommend that you focus on your positive messages, speak to as many students as possible, run a respectful and passionate campaign and enjoy the experience!

Question Time is an opportunity for students to ask questions to the candidates. Information about Question Time will be released at Candidate Academy.