LOCAL government systems in each of the UK’s four nations differ in many ways.

Councils in England, Scotland and Wales are responsible for social care, libraries and education - but the powers of Northern Ireland’s local administrations does not extend to these areas, for example.

Elections will take place on the same day on 5 May for some councils in England and all in Wales, as well as all local authorities in Scotland.

However most recent elections for local administrations in Northern Ireland were held in 2019 and the next are scheduled for 2023.

How many councils in England are holding elections on 5 May? 

There are 333 local authorities in England, made up of country councils, district councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs.

In May 146 councils will be holding elections, with members elected for four-year terms using the first past the post system.

There are three methods of holding local council elections in England - including whole, where all councillors are elected one every four years in whole council elections.

Another is thirds, where at each election, usually held every year, a third of the councillors are elected for four-year terms.

The final way is halves, where councillors are elected for four-year terms in votes held every two years, where half the councillors are elected. 

Local elections in Wales will see 16-year-olds vote for the first time 

All 22 local authorities in Wales will hold elections on 5 May under new boundaries.

There’s also a change in that for the first time in local elections, all residents of Wales over the age of 16 will be able to vote.

The councils in Wales will be using first past the post for May's election, but they now have the right to decide if they want to continue to use this system or switch to single transferable vote for future elections.

Scottish local elections go ahead after postponement

Elections will take place across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities on 5 May, using the single transferable vote system.

The most recent elections were held in 2017, with date of the forthcoming local elections postponed by a year to avoid clashing with the 2021 Holyrood election - which had been in turn postponed due to the possibility of a clash with a General Election.

After the 2022 vote, the local elections in Scotland will resume the pattern of being held every fourth year.