Labour has begun recruiting people who would play an integral role in any forthcoming general election campaign, the BBC understands.
There is growing speculation that an autumn election will be called
A number of individuals have been asked by the party if they could begin work next Monday, BBC political editor Nick Robinson says.
Their jobs range from planning the logistics of campaigns to liaising with voters and the media.
The recruitment process is not proof that a snap poll will be held, however.
And advisers to Gordon Brown continue to insist that the prime minister has yet to decide whether to hold an autumn election.
The people approached are understood to be self-employed or working for lobbyists or organisations sympathetic to Labour.
Some are in other political posts but all could be released from their roles immediately. However, they could just as quickly be told to return to their normal jobs.
Nick Robinson said the decision showed Labour had moved beyond contingency planning to active preparation for an election campaign, which a growing number believe Mr Brown is about to launch.
There has been mounting speculation during the Labour conference in Bournemouth that Mr Brown, who could wait until May 2010, is to call a snap election.
The Conservatives, who hold their conference in Blackpool next week, have already indicated that they are ready.
The party has a £10m war chest, a draft manifesto and candidates selected in its top 200 target seats, sources close to leader David Cameron have said.
The Tories and the Liberal Democrats have called on Mr Brown, who took over as prime minister in June, to hold a poll so the public can have their say on his government.
Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said earlier this week it was time for Mr Brown to stop dithering.
"The continuous speculation is bad for the economy, bad for the political process and bad for public confidence in the government," he said.
"The Liberal Democrats are ready and waiting for a general election as soon as possible."