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The wards and electoral divisions in the United Kingdom are electoral districts at sub-national level, represented by one or more councillors. The ward is the primary unit of English electoral geography for civil parishes and borough and district councils, the electoral ward is the unit used by Welsh principal councils, while the electoral division is the unit used by English county councils and some unitary authorities. Each ward/division has an average electorate of about 5,500 people, but ward population counts can vary substantially.As of 2021 there are 8,694 electoral wards/divisions in the UK.
The London boroughs, metropolitan boroughs and non-metropolitan districts (including most unitary authorities) are divided into wards for local elections. However, county council elections (as well as those for several unitary councils which were formerly county councils, such as the Isle of Wight and Shropshire Councils) instead use the term electoral division. In shire county areas with both wards (used for district council elections) and electoral divisions (used for county council elections), the boundaries of the two types of divisions may sometimes not coincide, but more often the county electoral divisions will be made up of one or more complete wards.
In urban areas, the wards within a local authority area typically each contain roughly the same number of electors, and each elect three councillors. In local authorities with mixed urban and rural areas, the number of councillors may vary from one to three, depending on the size of the electorate. Where civil parishes exist, a ward can be adjacent with a civil parish or consist of groups of civil parishes. Larger civil parishes (such as Shrewsbury) can be divided into two or more wards.
The City of London has its own sui generis form of local government and is divided into wards, which are ancient and very long-standing sub-divisions of the city.
The Council of the Isles of Scilly is also a sui generis unitary authority, hand as five wards, each returning either 1 or (in the case of St Mary's) 12 councillors to the Council of the Isles of Scilly.
Civil parishes in England are sometimes divided into wards for elections to the parish council (or town/city council). They need not bear any relation to wards or electoral divisions at district level, but often do.
The four most northerly ancient counties of England – Cumberland, Westmorland, County Durham and Northumberland – were historically divided into administrative units called wards instead of hundreds or wapentakes, as in other counties. Wards were areas originally organised for military purposes, each centred on a castle.
In Wales, the term electoral wardis used for elections to principal councils (county council or county borough council). This change replaced the term electoral division.
Communities in Wales (the equivalent to the civil parish in England) are sometimes divided into wards for elections to the community council.
All of Scotland is divided into over 300 wards for local government elections.Using the single transferable vote, most wards elect either three or four councillors. Starting from the 2022 Scottish local elections, the Scottish Elections (Reform) Act 2020, allows electoral wards to have between one and five councillors.
Districts in Northern Ireland are divided into electoral areas,with each electing between five and seven councillors by single transferable vote. These are themselves sub-divided into wards, but these wards have no official function.
The administrative geography of the United Kingdom is complex, multi-layered and non-uniform. The United Kingdom, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe, consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For local government in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own system of administrative and geographic demarcation. Consequently, there is "no common stratum of administrative unit encompassing the United Kingdom".
The subdivisions of England constitute a hierarchy of administrative divisions and non-administrative ceremonial areas.
The districts of England are a level of subnational division of England used for the purposes of local government. As the structure of local government in England is not uniform, there are currently four principal types of district-level subdivision. There are a total of 309 districts made up of 36 metropolitan boroughs, 32 London boroughs, 181 two-tier non-metropolitan districts and 58 unitary authorities, as well as the City of London and Isles of Scilly which are also districts, but do not correspond to any of these categories. Some districts are styled as cities, boroughs or royal boroughs; these are purely honorific titles and do not alter the status of the district or the powers of their councils. All boroughs and cities are led by a mayor who in most cases is a ceremonial figure elected by the district council, but—after local government reform—is occasionally a directly elected mayor who makes most of the policy decisions instead of the council.
The counties of England are areas used for different purposes, which include administrative, geographical, cultural and political demarcation. The term "county" is defined in several ways and can apply to similar or the same areas used by each of these demarcation structures. These different types of county each have a more formal name but are commonly referred to just as "counties". The current arrangement is the result of incremental reform.
The Borough of Bedford is a unitary authority area with borough status in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. Its council is based in Bedford, its namesake and principal settlement, which is the county town of Bedfordshire. The borough contains one large urban area, the 71st largest in the United Kingdom that comprises Bedford and the adjacent town of Kempston, surrounded by a rural area with many villages. 75% of the borough's population live in the Bedford Urban Area and the five large villages which surround it, which makes up slightly less than 6% of the total land area of the Borough.
Local government in England broadly consists of three layers: regional authorities, local authorities and parish councils. Legislation concerning English local government is passed by Parliament, as England does not have a devolved parliament.
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes, which historically played a role in both secular and religious administration. Civil and religious parishes were formally differentiated in the 19th century and are now entirely separate. Civil parishes in their modern form came into being through the Local Government Act 1894, which established elected parish councils to take on the secular functions of the parish vestry.
ONS codes are geocodes maintained by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics to represent a wide range of geographical areas of the UK, for use in tabulating census and other statistical data. These codes are also known as GSS codes, where GSS refers to the Government Statistical Service of which ONS is part.
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974. It was one of the most significant Acts of Parliament to be passed by the Heath Government of 1970–74.
The counties of the United Kingdom are subnational divisions of the United Kingdom, used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. The older term, shire is historically equivalent to county. By the Middle Ages, county had become established as the unit of local government, at least in England. By the early 17th century, all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland had been separated into counties. In Scotland shire was the only term used until after the Act of Union 1707.
Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties are one of the four levels of subdivisions of England used for the purposes of local government outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. As originally constituted, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties each consisted of multiple districts, had a county council and were also the counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies. Later changes in legislation during the 1980s and 1990s have resulted in counties with no county council and 'unitary authority' counties with no districts. Counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies are now defined separately, based on the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.
The Local Government Act 1888 was an Act of Parliament which established county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales. It came into effect on 1 April 1889, except for the County of London, which came into existence on 21 March at the request of the London County Council.
The unitary authorities of England are those local authorities which are responsible for the provision of all local government services within a district. They are constituted under the Local Government Act 1992, which amended the Local Government Act 1972 to allow the existence of counties that do not have multiple districts. They typically allow large towns to have separate local authorities from the less urbanised parts of their counties and originally provided a single authority for small counties where division into districts would be impractical. However the government has more recently proposed the formation of much larger unitary authorities, including a single authority for North Yorkshire, the largest non-metropolitan county in England, at present divided into seven districts.
The Council of the Isles of Scilly is a sui generis unitary local government authority covering the Isles of Scilly off the west coast of Cornwall. It is currently made up of 16 seats, with all councillors being independents. The council was created in 1890 as the Isles of Scilly Rural District Council and was renamed in 1974.
Shropshire Council is the local authority of Shropshire, in England, comprising the ceremonial county of Shropshire except Telford and Wrekin. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined.
This article documents the strengths of political parties in the 333 local authorities of England, 32 local authorities of Scotland, 22 principal councils of Wales and 11 local councils of Northern Ireland.
The 2013 Council of the Isles of Scilly election took place on 2 May 2013 as part of the 2013 local elections in the United Kingdom The council is a sui generis unitary authority within the ceremonial county of Cornwall.
The ONS Postcode Directory (ONSPD) relates both current and terminated postcodes in the United Kingdom to a range of current statutory administrative, electoral, health and other area geographies. It also links postcodes to pre-2002 health areas, 1991 Census enumeration districts for England and Wales, 2001 Census Output Areas (OA) and Super Output Areas (SOA) for England and Wales, 2001 Census OAs and SOAs for Northern Ireland and 2001 Census OAs and Data Zones (DZ) for Scotland. It helps support the production of area based statistics from postcoded data.
The Index of Place Names (IPN) in Great Britain is published by the Office for National Statistics.