Members—election
Produced in partnership with Philip McCourt
Members—election

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Philip McCourt provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Members—election
  • Eligibility
  • Disqualification
  • Politically restricted posts

Council members for a principal area are elected by the local government electors for that area. Every non-metropolitan county is divided into electoral divisions, and every metropolitan and non-metropolitan district is divided into wards, each returning a specified number of councillors. The electoral arrangements for each principal council are reviewed from time to time or upon request.

There must be a separate election for each electoral division or ward.

Members serve a four-year term.

Local authorities have three options for the frequency of elections:

  1. whole council elections: members hold office for four years; the elections are held every fourth year; all the members are elected in each year in which the elections are held, and they all retire together

  2. elections by halves: members hold office for four years; the elections are held every two years; one-half are elected in each year in which the elections are held, and one-half retire in each election year

  3. elections by thirds: members hold office for four years; the elections are held in every three out of those four years; one-third of the councillors are elected in each election year and one-third retire in each election year

The Government intended that this choice would encourage democratic engagement, with elections by thirds being the standard pattern for all unitary councils, and elections by halves for district councils in two-tier areas. Such