The next local elections will be held on Thursday 4th May 2023. There will be elections in 179 District Councils, 33 Metropolitan Councils and 46 Unitary Authorities. Use our guide to the 2023 election areas to check whether there are elections in your area.
If you are interested in supporting candidates in the local elections, or spreading the word on social media, please take part in our Network Survey by clicking here. The survey asks what’s important to you and how you’ like to get involved. At the end you can opt in to receive information about candidates in your wider area. Our aim is to help people support candidates in their district, borough, county or city. We will also share survey reports with candidates, so your views will be known.
If you are interested in standing as a candidate see our 9 point checklist or contact Support@TheDemocraticNetwork.org. The LGA Independent Group produce a guide to standing as a Councillor which is here: https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-independent/our-work/be-councillor
How Councils Work
Local Councils are responsible for decisions about education, health, local infrastructure, housing, planning, refuse and the environment. In most places there are two tiers of local government. In the shires these are typically County Councils and District or Borough Councils. In cities or metropolitan areas there may be a City Council and local Borough Councils. There are also currently 58 Unitary Authority areas where there is a single layer of local government; four more areas will be forming Unitary Authorities in 2023.
Local Councils are overseen by elected Councillors. The election cycle varies by area. Once elected Councillors are supposed to represent the interests of all residents and businesses.
In addition to Councillors from the main Westminster Parties there are a large number of Independent and Green Councillors represented by the Local Government Associations Independent Group. At the time of writing (September 2022) the LGA Independent Group had listed 35 councils across England and Wales with a Leader from their Group and 34 councils where group members are are part of the administration (i.e. in a coalition with shared leadership arrangements). LGA Independent Group members have been elected to represent local people in 307 authorities across England and Wales (92% of councils in England and Wales).
A full list of these Councils is available here:
The easiest way to get involved if something concerns you is to contact your local Councillor. They may refer you to a relevant colleague or department.
If you want to support a Councillor in their election campaign you can join a local party or offer to help at election times. Getting to know your local Councillor, and your local MP, may be helpful further down the line. Parties will often have meetings or discussion forums where you can make your views known. It may be that there is one dominant or winning party in your area; you could be ‘pragmatic’ and join them. To join a Westminster Parties you should contact their local constituency or association office. Whilst these tend to be structured on the basis of parliamentary constituencies, they are responsible for local election campaigns. These offices are different to the MPs constituency office.
If you do not want to support a Westminster Party we can help you find a local or independent candidate to support. In many areas there are Independent Candidates, some of whom belong to local groups or parties, or to the national Independent Network. We published a guide to independent candidates in advance of the election in May 2022 and plan to do so once again in 2023.
We are currently conducting research about how people decide who to support and will publish this prior to the May elections.
May 2023 Election Guide
The tables below list where elections will be taking place on Thursday 4th May 2023.
District Council Elections
Most District Councils elect all Councillors every four years. Exceptions to this are shown below. “By thirds” means a third of seats are contested every year apart from County council election years.
|South Lakeland||By thirds|
|Derbyshire||Amber Valley||By thirds|
|North East Derbyshire|
|Castle Point||By thirds|
|Epping Forest||By thirds|
|Forest of Dean|
|Hampshire||Basingstoke and Deane||By thirds|
|North Hertfordshire||By thirds|
|St Albans||By thirds|
|Three Rivers||By thirds|
|Welwyn Hatfield||By thirds|
|Folkestone and Hythe|
|Tonbridge and Malling|
|Tunbridge Wells||By thirds|
|West Lancashire||By thirds|
|Hinckley and Bosworth|
|North West Leicestershire|
|Oadby and Wigston|
|King’s Lynn and West Norfolk|
|North Yorkshire||Craven||By thirds|
|Newark and Sherwood|
|Vale Of White Horse|
|West Oxfordshire||By thirds|
|Somerset West and Taunton|
|Staffordshire||Cannock Chase||By thirds|
|Epsom and Ewell|
|Mole Valley||By thirds|
|Reigate and Banstead||By thirds|
|Stratford upon Avon|
Metropolitan District Elections
All Metropolitan Districts elect Councillors by thirds.
|Tyne and Wear||Gateshead|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne|
Most Unitary Authorities elect all Councillors every four years. Exceptions to this are shown below. “By thirds” means a third of seats are contested every year apart from County council election years.
|Windsor and Maidenhead|
|Buckinghamshire||Milton Keynes||By thirds|
|Cheshire West and Chester|
|Dorset||Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||East Riding of Yorkshire|
|East Sussex||Brighton and Hove|
|Lancashire||Blackburn with Darw||By thirds|
|Lincolnshire||North East Lincolnshi||By thirds|
|Redcar and Cleveland|
|Shropshire||Telford and The Wrekin|
|Somerset||Bath and North East Somerset|