Local elections England: update 18 April 2024

Two weeks until election day!

Image: Mr_Twister via istock

Events this month

State of the locals 2024 – 23 April

This online panel discussion, hosted with Ipsos, will bring political and local government experts together to look at what the local elections mean this year and discuss exclusive new LGIU/Ipsos polling that looks at attitudes to local democracy. There is no charge for this event. Book a place.

Highlights this week

While there are still two weeks until polls open across England and Wales, the work to make these elections possible has been going on for many weeks and months. This article from Peter Stanyon, Chief Executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, outlines the new rules, methods and challenges that are piling the pressure on elections staff.

Make the most of your LGIU elections resources

  • Read Ones to Watch, our guide to the most interesting contests this year – the ones where there is all to play for.
  • Book a spot on our free State of the Locals discussion on 23 May. We’ll be exploring our new polling with Ipsos looking at public attitudes to local government and local democracy.
  • Check out our Local Elections 101 – answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Head over to your one-stop shop for elections resources.

Ones to watch - Police and Crime Commissioner elections

This excerpt is taken from Ones to Watch, LGIU’s guide to the best of the action on 2 May.

Map showing where PCC elections are taking place 2024

 

Map showing PCCs by party control

What is a Police Crime Commissioner?
A Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is an elected politician whose job it is to manage an “effective and efficient” police force for their area. They have existed since 2012 and have three core roles: setting police budgets, scrutinising the performance of their police force, and commissioning criminal justice services. They also appoint the chief officer in their area. For more information, see the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners website.

The areas for PCCs are a little different to local authorities. For example, in the southwest, there is a single PCC for Devon and Cornwall, which covers a large number of different district and unitary councils as well as a county council.

The maps above are accurate at the time of writing, but legislation is currently being passed to move responsibilities to the mayor in several locations. Because of an ongoing legal review, it is difficult to say where we can expect this to happen, but the proposals are for the transition to be made in South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

Given the nature of these elections, there is a chance that the PCC elections will primarily be viewed as a question of Conservative losses. This is true of all elections this year, but PCCs are a type of elected office where the Conservative party is unusually dominant. However, as with the other types of local elections, there is more to these contests than the fortunes of the major parties.

In this case, the main aspect we are interested in is turnout. Turnout across PCC elections is often low, even by the standards of local elections, and in places where there are PCC elections and no other elections, turnout is often very low indeed. This is important – public understanding and turnout are key to democratic elections, and disengagement from any level of representation needs to be recorded, understood, and ideally counteracted.

 

Check out the council elections by region that are worth keeping an eye on:

East Midlands | East of England | North East | North West | South East | South West | West Midlands | Yorkshire and Humber

In the news

A summary of this week’s election news. All stories are curated from the LGIU’s member-only Daily News.

If you don’t receive Daily News every morning, then update your mailing preferences in your website account – it’s an important part of your LGIU membership.

Image: Thinglass via istock

ITV could run streaming ads for political parties

The Guardian reports that a loophole in broadcasting law could see ITV run paid advertisements for political parties for the first time – with bans on such ads only covering traditional television channels, and not streaming services like ITV’s ITVX platform, YouTube, or social media sites like Facebook. Consultant Tom Edmonds, who has run digital advertising campaigns for the Conservative Party in the past, pointed to last year’s announcement by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove increasing the general election spending cap from £19.5m in 2019 to £35m, saying “most of that extra spend is going to go on digital, as you can’t actually spend it any other way”.
The Guardian

Lib Dems retain North Yorkshire seat in by-election

Andrew Timothy, representing the Liberal Democrats, has won the by-election for the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone ward of North Yorkshire Council. He secured victory with 1,094 votes, defeating John Ennis of the Conservative Party who received 768 votes. Gilly Charters of the Green Party came third with 376 votes. The turnout for the by-election was 41%, with a total of 2,496 votes cast. This election was held due to the resignation of long-serving Lib Dem councillor Pat Marsh. The turnout was 41% with 2,496 votes cast. The Conservative and Independents Group retains control of North Yorkshire Council, holding 47 seats, while other parties and independent councillors together have 43 seats.
BBC News   Harrogate Advertiser