Political/Constituency organisers work for a political party. They support the elected members, or candidates seeking election, in a political area known as a constituency. Their aim is to help the party win elections. An organiser may work in one constituency or across several.
The organiser works for all elected members and candidates in the area. These will include:
Councillors who are members of the local council.
Members of Parliament (MPs) who sit in the House of Commons in Westminster.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who sit in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels.
The work is varied and may include tasks such as:
Some constituency offices have volunteers who help with administrative tasks.
Many politicians are based in offices close to parliament for much of the year, so constituency organisers act as an important point of contact for local party members and constituents.
Constituency organisers may also be expected to attend party conferences, visit local businesses and organisations, attend charity events, issue statements and give interviews to journalists.
Organisers who work across several constituencies or at a regional level may deal with constitutional rules, legal questions or disputes.
Due to the nature of the work, there is a need to be flexible about hours worked. Organisers often work in the evenings and at weekends, and are expected to put in extra hours around an election or during the party conference.
Most organisers are based at the constituency office or regional party office, often within a town or city centre. The job also requires a lot of time spent outside the office, visiting different places in the constituency. Travelling expenses may be covered.
A smart personal appearance is important.
Political/Constituency organisers may earn around £19,000 a year. With experience this may rise to £31,000.
There are 646 constituencies throughout the UK, each electing one MP to represent the people who live within the area (through voting at a general election or a by-election held when a seat becomes vacant).
Only the larger political parties employ full-time constituency organisers and may have trainee organiser schemes that can lead to a permanent position. Smaller parties are more likely to use volunteers, only appointing paid organisers during election campaigns. Jobs are limited and competition is fierce.
Jobs are advertised locally, on party websites and on the w4mp website.
There are no specific qualifications but most applicants have a degree. Subjects such as politics, economics, law, social policy, public affairs, marketing or public relations are an advantage.
For degree courses, applicants usually need a minimum of two A levels and five GCSE's (A*-C), including maths and English, or equivalent qualifications. Candidates should check requirements with individual colleges and universities. Degree programmes typically last three or four years. Those without the usual academic qualifications can take an Access course.
It is important to demonstrate a commitment to the party by having worked for it in a voluntary capacity first. This could include taking on jobs such as distributing leaflets for part of a constituency, managing local party records or updating the local party website. Political parties also have national youth wings in which students and other young people can become actively involved.
Most training is on the job. It is likely to involve working alongside experienced members of the team.
Political/Constituency organisers must take personal responsibility for their own professional development and keep up to date with relevant issues by reading journals, magazines and newspapers.
There may be opportunities to attend relevant seminars, conferences and workshops, covering training in such topics as presentation, communication skills and dealing with the media. The major parties also conduct their own training schemes.
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A political/constituency organiser should:
For those working for a major party, there may be opportunities for progression to a regional or national campaign officer post. Many organisers also apply the experience gained working in this political environment to seek elected office as a councillor, MP or MEP.
A background in politics can offer other career opportunities. Some organisers may move into the media.
Many of the communication and organisational skills needed transfer extremely well to senior administrative roles in commerce or industry.
The Conservative Party,
Conservative Campaign Headquarters,
30 Millbank, London SW1P 4DP
Tel: 020 7222 9000
House of Commons Information Office,
House of Commons, Westminster,
London SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 4272
The Labour Party,
Eldon House, Regent centre,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 3PW
Tel: 0870 590 0200
The Liberal Democrats,
4 Cowley Street, London SW1P 3NB
Tel: 020 7222 7999
UK Office of the European Parliament,
2 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA
Tel: 020 7227 4300
Tel: 020 7219 6347
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.