- what they do
- the different types of local council
- how and when they are elected
What do local councils do?
Councils are responsible for providing local services and facilities.
- Council housing
- Education services
- Electoral registration
- Environmental health
- Leisure and recreation facilities
- Local planning
- Local transport
- Parks and public places
- Regulation of local business
- Roads and footpaths
- Social services
- Waste and recycling
What type of council do I have?
There are different types of council in the UK and the type of council you have depends on where you live.
London Borough or Metropolitan District Councils
County and District councils
Below is a list of what each type of council does:
|County Council||District Council|
|Education services||Electoral registration|
|Social Services||Council housing|
|Streets and roads||Leisure and recreation facilities|
|Waste disposal||Local planning|
In England, some towns and London boroughs also have their own directly elected mayor.
Parish, town and community councils
As well as local councils, the UK also has around 10,000 parish, town and community councils. These form the most local level of local government.
Parish councils in England and community councils in Scotland and Wales are responsible for things like:
- bus shelters
- car parks
- public toilets
- footpath lighting
- litter bins
- local halls and community centres
- parks and public ponds
- public clocks
- war memorials
How are they elected?
When you vote in a local election, you will receive a ballot paper listing all the candidates standing to be a councillor in your area.
When are they elected?
Each councillor is elected for four years, but when you have an opportunity to elect them depends on the type of council you have in your area and what voting method it uses.
Voting by thirds
Voting by halves
Who is eligible to vote?
To vote in a local council election a person must be registered to vote and also be one of the following:
- 18 years or over on polling day in England and Wales; or 16 years or over on polling day in Scotland
- a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the European Union
- resident in the UK
- not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote
The following cannot vote in a local council election:
- anyone other than British, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizens
- convicted persons detained in pursuance of their sentences, excluding contempt of court (though remand prisoners, unconvicted prisoners and civil prisoners can vote if they are on the electoral register)
- anyone found guilty within the previous five years of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election