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.

Independent Councillors

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:

https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-independent/independents-local-government

Getting Involved

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
Metropolitan District Elections
Unitary Authority Elections


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.

CountyDistrictNotes
BuckinghamshireAylesbury Vale
Chiltern
South Bucks
Wycombe
CambridgeshireCambridgeBy thirds 
East Cambridgeshire
Fenland
CumbriaAllerdale
Barrow-in-Furness
CarlisleBy thirds
Copeland
Eden
South LakelandBy thirds
DerbyshireAmber ValleyBy thirds
Bolsover
Chesterfield
Derbyshire Dales
Erewash
High Peak
North East Derbyshire
South Derbyshire
DevonEast Devon
ExeterBy thirds
Mid Devon
North Devon
South Hams
Teignbridge
Torridge
West Devon
East SussexEastbourne
Lewes
Rother
Wealden
EssexBasildonBy thirds
Braintree
BrentwoodBy thirds
Castle PointBy thirds
Chelmsford
ColchesterBy thirds
Epping ForestBy thirds
HarlowBy thirds
Maldon
RochfordBy thirds
Tendring
Uttlesford
GloucestershireCotswold
Forest of Dean
Tewkesbury
HampshireBasingstoke and DeaneBy thirds
East Hampshire
EastleighBy thirds
HartBy thirds
HavantBy thirds
New Forest
RushmoorBy thirds
Test Valley
WinchesterBy thirds
HertfordshireBroxbourneBy thirds
Dacorum
East Hertfordshire
Hertsmere
North HertfordshireBy thirds
St AlbansBy thirds
StevenageBy thirds
Three RiversBy thirds
WatfordBy thirds
Welwyn HatfieldBy thirds
KentAshford
Canterbury City
Dartford
Dover
Folkestone and Hythe
Gravesham
MaidstoneBy thirds
Sevenoaks
Swale
Thanet
Tonbridge and Malling
Tunbridge WellsBy thirds
LancashireBurnleyBy thirds
ChorleyBy thirds
Fylde
HyndburnBy thirds
Lancaster City
PendleBy thirds
PrestonBy thirds
Ribble Valley
RossendaleBy thirds
South Ribble
West LancashireBy thirds
Wyre
LeicestershireBlaby
Charnwood
Harborough
Hinckley and Bosworth
Melton
North West Leicestershire
Oadby and Wigston
LincolnshireBoston
East Lindsey
LincolnBy thirds
North Kesteven
South Holland
South Kesteven
West Lindsey
NorfolkBreckland
Broadland
Great Yarmouth
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
North Norfolk
NorwichBy thirds
South Norfolk
North YorkshireCravenBy thirds
Hambleton
Richmondshire
Ryedale
Scarborough
Selby
NorthamptonshireCorby
DaventryBy thirds
East Northamptonshire
Kettering
Northampton
South Northamptonshire
Wellingborough
Ashfield
Bassetlaw
Broxtowe
Gedling
Mansfield
Newark and Sherwood
Rushcliffe
OxfordshireCherwellBy thirds
South Oxfordshire
Vale Of White Horse
West OxfordshireBy thirds
SomersetMendip
Sedgemoor
Somerset West and Taunton
South Somerset
StaffordshireCannock ChaseBy thirds
East Staffordshire
Lichfield
South Staffordshire
Stafford
Staffordshire Moorlands
TamworthBy thirds
SuffolkBabergh
East Suffolk
IpswichBy thirds
Mid Suffolk
West Suffolk
SurreyElmbridgeBy thirds
Epsom and Ewell
Guildford
Mole ValleyBy thirds
Reigate and BansteadBy thirds
RunnymedeBy thirds
Spelthorne
Surrey Heath
TandridgeBy thirds
Waverley
WokingBy thirds
WarwickshireNorth Warwickshire
RugbyBy thirds
Stratford upon Avon
Warwick
West SussexArun
Chichester
CrawleyBy thirds
Horsham
Mid Sussex
WorthingBy thirds
WorcestershireBromsgrove
Malvern Hills
RedditchBy thirds
WorcesterBy thirds
Wychavon
Wyre Forest
District Council Elections 2023

Metropolitan District Elections

All Metropolitan Districts elect Councillors by thirds.

CountyMetropolitan District
Greater ManchesterBolton
Bury
Manchester
Oldham
Rochdale
Salford
Stockport
Tameside
Trafford
Wigan
MerseysideKnowsley
Liverpool
Sefton
St Helens
Wirral
South YorkshireBarnsley
Sheffield
Tyne and WearGateshead
Newcastle Upon Tyne
North Tyneside
South Tyneside
Sunderland
West MidlandsCoventry
Dudley
Sandwell
Solihull
Walsall
Wolverhampton
West YorkshireBradford
Calderdale
Kirklees
Leeds
Wakefield
Metropolitan District Elections 2023

Unitary Authority Elections

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.

CountyUnitary AuthorityNotes
BedfordshireBedford
Central Bedfordshire
Luton
BerkshireBracknell Forest
ReadingBy thirds
SloughBy thirds
West Berkshire
Windsor and Maidenhead
WokinghamBy thirds
BuckinghamshireMilton KeynesBy thirds
CambridgeshirePeterboroughBy thirds
CheshireCheshire East
Cheshire West and Chester
HaltonBy thirds
County DurhamDarlington
HartlepoolBy thirds
Stockton-on-Tees
DerbyshireDerbyBy thirds
DevonPlymouthBy thirds
Torbay
DorsetBournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
East Riding of YorkshireEast Riding of Yorkshire
HullBy thirds
East SussexBrighton and Hove
EssexSouthendBy thirds
ThurrockBy thirds
GloucestershireSouth Gloucestershire
HampshirePortsmouthBy thirds
SouthamptonBy thirds
HerefordshireHerefordshire
KentMedway
LancashireBlackburn with DarwBy thirds
Blackpool
LeicestershireLeicester
LincolnshireNorth East LincolnshiBy thirds
North Lincolnshire
North YorkshireMiddlesbrough
Redcar and Cleveland
York
NottinghamshireNottingham
RutlandRutland
ShropshireTelford and The Wrekin
SomersetBath and North East Somerset
North Somerset
StaffordshireStoke
WiltshireSwindonBy thirds
Unitary Authority Elections 2023