Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Due to essential maintenance some of our forms will be unavailable on Saturday 23 July 2016 from 3.30 am to 1 pm. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Elections: General Information


The Elections Office is responsible for organising all elections held in the city. Most elections are contested by candidates representing registered political parties. Individuals sometimes stand for election, unsupported by a party, as independents.

Essential Information
  • MPs are voted into the House of Commons at a Parliamentary General Election.

    The Fixed-term Parliament Act 2011 set out the timetable for future Parliamentary General Elections. Except in very exceptional circumstances, Parliamentary Elections will now be held every 5 years, on the first Thursday in May.

    The next scheduled Parliamentary General Election is due to be held in 2020.

  • Birmingham is divided into 40 wards. Each ward is represented by 3 Councillors, each serving a 4 year term of office.

    In Birmingham, Councillors are elected by 'thirds'. By this process, every year, the 4 year term of one of the three Councillors in each ward finishes, thus creating a vacancy. The 40 vacancies are filled through elections held on the first Thursday in May. After three consecutive years with an election, there follows a 'fallow' year in which no local elections take place. There may of course be other types of elections held during a fallow year, e.g. a General Election.

    There are due to be elections in May 2016, with a fallow year in 2017. There may be changes to the election cycle in 2018 following the Boundary Review of Birmingham currently taking place.

  • As the UK is in the European Union, elections to the European Parliament are held every 5 years. The date is predetermined by the Secretary of State.

    European Elections are usually held in June, and are often combined with any local elections being held, meaning that in these circumstances, the local elections would be held a month later than normal.

    Birmingham, along with 29 other local authorities which make up the West Midlands Region, elects 7 MEPs to represent the region.

    The last European Parliamentary Elections were held in 2014.

  • A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections. Usually this occurs when the councillor or MP has died or resigned, but it may also occur if they become ineligible to continue in office, for example because of a sufficiently serious criminal conviction.

    There are currently no scheduled by-elections in Birmingham, but they can arise at any time.

  • As well as local councils, the UK also has around 10,000 parish, town and community councils. These form the most local level of government.

    There is currently one Parish Council in Birmingham - New Frankley in Birmingham Parish. This was set up in 2000.

    Parish elections are held every 4 years. However the New Frankley in Birmingham Parish election has been postponed until 2018, due to the Boundary Review.

    A new Parish Council has been set up in Sutton Coldfield following local consultation. This covers the four wards of Sutton Coldfield Constituency, and the first election of Parish Councillors will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

  • A referendum is when the electorate is asked to vote on a single issue. It can be a nation-wide vote or only based in a specific area.

    There was a referendum in May 2011 to see whether there should be a change in the voting system at UK Parliamentary Elections. The result was that we would continue using the system we have at the moment.

    There was also a referendum in May 2012 to see whether Birmingham should have a Directly Elected Mayor, or keep the current system. This is part of the Localism Bill which the Government passed in 2011. The result was that we would not have a Mayor, and keep the current system.

    There will be a nationwide referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union on Thursday 23 June 2016.