Local government elections

This section includes details of when different types of authorities are due to hold local elections and guidance on the pre-election period.

Upcoming local elections

In May 2023, local elections will be taking place in the following authorities:

  • 152 District authorities
  • 46 Unitary authorities
  • 33 Metropolitan districts

The Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities publish a list of election cycles by type of local authority in England.

Pre-election period

The pre-election period, previously known as purdah, is the time between an election is announced and the date the election is held.   

Central and local government are subject to certain restrictions on political activity during the run up to an election. See our short guide to publicity during the pre-election period or visit our dedicated section: what the pre-election period means in practice

The LGA is not subject to the same restrictions. Paragraph 40 of the LGA’s Governance Framework sets out our media and public statements protocols during this period.

Local election results impact on the LGA

The outcome of the English and Welsh local elections each year determines:

  • who is eligible to sit on the LGA’s political governance structures;
  • the LGA’s political balance for the new political year
  • the LGA’s Political Group Office’s appointments to our governance structures for the new political year.

Find out more about the LGA's political balance and political group appointments.

Previous local elections

The most recent local elections took place on Thursday 5 May 2022 in the following authorities in England:

  • 21 Unitary authorities
  • 33 Metropolitan boroughs
  • 66 non-metropolitan boroughs
  • 22 London councils

Previously, local elections were held on 6 May 2021, this was notably a bumper year of elections due to the postponement of the 2020 local elections to 2021. They included:

  • County authorities
  • Metropolitan district authorities
  • District authorities
  • Unitary authorities
  • The Isles of Scilly and City of London
  • Single and Combined Authority Mayoral
  • London Mayoral and London Assembly Members
  • Police and Crime Commissioner

Political balance

The LGA's political balance is defined by the outcome of English and Welsh local elections each year.

Find out more about LGA's political balance.  

Further information

Visit the LGA’s publications on elections