Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) said:
“With polls now closed in these local elections, a huge thanks must be given to the countless council staff and volunteers who made today happen. Local democracy works because of these individuals.
With an added layer of complexity from the introduction of voter ID this year, these teams have gone above and beyond. And, they will be continuing to work tirelessly through the night and days to follow to ensure each and every vote is counted.
But our research shows a worrying disconnect between how important local elections are and how well people understand them. While more than half of people (56%) see the council as the institution that has the biggest impact on their quality of life – only 34% of people understand how decisions are made and what the role of elected councillor is. Given this, it’s unsurprising that turnout in local elections is always less than 40%. We hope today has bucked that trend.
And, as the results start to roll in over the coming hours, we should remember that the people elected tonight will be making choices that shape the local services we all rely on. With councils under unprecedented pressure those choices will be harder than ever.”