Guidance for applying to become a crossbench peer

How to Apply

Guidance for applying to become a crossbench peer

1. Introduction

This document provides guidance on how an applicant should complete the application form to become a crossbench peer in the House of Lords. The Commission makes a very small number of nominations to the House, and therefore the quality of the successful nominations we make is extremely high. It is expected that a successful candidate will have made a significant impact in, and be highly regarded within, their chosen field. Examples of previously successful applicants can be found on the appointments page of the website.

2. Who can apply

Please note that only British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over the age of 21 are eligible. You must be resident in the UK for tax purposes and accept the requirement to remain so.

You are also expected to inform the Commission if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986)When you apply, you should declare if:
  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this

Applicants should be able to bring a perspective and contribution to the work of the House of Lords that is independent of party–political considerations. Party–political activity or membership of a political party is not a bar to nomination. However, nominees will need to satisfy themselves and the Commission that they are comfortable operating outside a party–political framework whatever their past involvement.

3. How to apply

  • To apply, you will need to submit your completed application form and an accompanying CV that explain how you meet the requirements for the role. We will also ask you to answer some questions about yourself, including some diversity information (although you can choose “prefer not to say” in response to these questions). This is optional.


  • The Commission will only accept applications that are submitted in the provided format, that adhere to the specified word limits and that include a supplemental CV that is no longer than 2 pages. Any forms received that do not meet these requirements will not be assessed.


  • The purpose of the application form is to demonstrate to the Commission that you have the relevant skills and experience to deliver a significant contribution to the work of the House. Please ensure that you have carefully read the published criteria, and that these are your primary focus, as you will be assessed against these.


  • The application form asks that you confirm that you are willing and able to commit the time necessary to make an effective contribution in the House. The House sits four times a week, and whilst you are not expected to attend all sessions, you must consider whether you have the capacity to attend regularly. This will be discussed at your interview if you are successful in reaching this stage of the assessment, so please ensure that you have given thought to this.


  • You are not required to provide references at the application stage, so please do not include any references when submitting the nomination form. These will be requested at the interview stage, should you progress through the process.


  • Should you wish to update your application at any point, please edit the form accordingly and send it to Similarly, please email that address if you wish to withdraw your application at any time.

4. After you have applied

The application is sifted. An Advisory Assessment Panel (usually made up of two independent members of the Commission and representatives from the Secretariat) will review all applications and decide who will go through to the next stage. Feedback is not usually available to those who do not progress to interview because of the volume of applicants.

References. Should you be invited for an interview, the Commission will ask you for a minimum of three and a maximum of six referees, who will be approached by the Secretariat in order to provide a reference. At least one of those referees must be connected to your working life (If appropriate).

Attend an interview. This will be with the panel and will usually last between 30 and 60 minutes. You will be asked to provide evidence of how your experience, knowledge and skills demonstrate the published criteria for the role that are set out on the HOLAC website. After the interview, the panel will submit their assessment of whether and how each candidate met the criteria and will determine the candidates to put forward to the Prime Minister for approval. The Commission has only limited numbers of nominations to make, so unfortunately some strong nominees will not be put forward. Feedback will be made available to applicants reaching the interview stage.

Vetting. All applicants are asked to give their consent to the necessary checks made by the Commission. These include checking with relevant government departments and agencies and other organisations including the Electoral Commission, as well as carrying out a media search. This will only be completed for applicants who are successful at interview, prior to the Commission making its recommendations to the Prime Minister. More information can be found on the vetting page on the website.

Announcement. If you’re successfully nominated by the Commission and the Prime Minister agrees with the recommendation, the Prime Minister will seek the Sovereign’s approval for the peerage to be bestowed. The Commission will make arrangements for your appointment to be announced on its website. The Prime Minister’s Office will put you in touch with the Garter King of Arms to discuss your title; and will arrange for you to receive Letters Patent conferring that title. Your introduction to the House of Lords will be arranged with the House Authorities, and you will be issued a Writ of Summons. You will need two people to support you, and you will then need to swear an oath or affirmation to the Sovereign before you can take your seat.

Tips for applying

Tailoring your CV

The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Parliament. It works with the House of Commons to make laws, check and challenge the actions of the government, and provide a forum of independent expertise. The House of Lords Chamber spends about 60% of its time on legislation; the other 40% is spent on scrutiny – questioning Government and debating issues and policy. Committee work takes place outside the Chamber.

Your CV will be assessed against the published criteria on the HOLAC website to determine your ability to successfully carry out the duties of a peer. Please ensure that you tailor your answers to show how you demonstrate the relevant skills.

If you are invited to interview

The panel will assess objectively whether your application – and any evidence you provide at interview – demonstrates that you meet the published criteria set out on the website. The tips below will help you stand the best chance of showing the panel that you meet the criteria.

  • If you haven’t had a chance to do this before you apply, it is worth spending some time looking into the work of the House of Lords. You could look at their website, or contact a member to get a sense of the day-to-day work
  • remind yourself of the essential criteria for the role and think about questions the panel might ask related to those
  • check whether any reasonable adjustments the Commission has agreed to provide are in place for you and let the panel know anything that would help you to demonstrate evidence that you meet the published criteria for the role
  • The panel can only take into account evidence that you provide in your CV, application form and in interview. Don’t assume the panel knows about any experience, knowledge or skills that you haven’t set out and use the opportunity in the interview to explain to the panel how you meet the essential criteria for the role

If you would like any further advice about applying or interviewing, please contact the HOLAC secretariat in the first instance at