Confused about councils, constituencies and wards?
I live in Tring, which is in Dacorum – how does that fit with the constituency of SW Herts? The constituency is for an MP right? So how is Hemel also in Dacorum but, has a different MP? After several conversations and searching maps I have finally got (some of it) reasonably clear in my head – hopefully this will be of some use to others who are new and/or confused.
Everything below is based on Herts County as it is consistent throughout the levels of government (at least for now – Dec 2016!)
Hertfordshire is divided into 11 constituencies, each of which has an MP (sadly all 11 are Conservative as of December 2016):
South West Hertfordshire
Hertford and Stortford
Hitchin and Harpenden
North East Hertfordshire
Many constituencies are divided into Branches by the Labour Party (these branches are not reflected in the standard election maps as they are purely for Labour Party organisational purposes).
South West Herts constituency is broken into three branches:
Berkhamstead and Tring
Hertfordshire is divided into 10 Districts/Boroughs (it’s apparently a borough if you have a Mayor)
Broxbourne Borough Council
Dacorum Borough Council
East Herts Council
Hertsmere Borough Council
North Hertfordshire District Council
St Albans City And District Council
Stevenage Borough Council
Three Rivers District Council
Watford Borough Council
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
In Dacorum all council seats are selected every four years.
In Three Rivers there are council elections almost every year (3 of 4) where a proportion of the seats on the council are elected.
SW Herts constituency incorporates parts of both Dacorum and Three Rivers, however both Dacorum and Three Rivers have areas that are inside other constituencies
Hertfordshire County Council has over 70 electoral divisions.
The borders of the electoral divisions match neither Constituencies or District/Boroughs. Some electoral divisions cross ward and borough boundaries!
From north to south in SW Herts’ constituency, the Herts County Council Divisions are:
- Bridgewater (mostly in Hemel Hempstead constituency)
- King’s Langley (part in Hemel Hempstead constituency)
- Three Rivers Rural (part in Watford and part in S Albans constituencies)
- Rickmansworth West
- Rickmansworth East and Oxhey Park (part in Watford constituency)
- South Oxhey and Eastbury
County Councillors are elected every four years (2021 next).
At a lower level are Wards (sometimes also known as Districts in metropolitan areas – just to make it all the more confusing with the larger Districts described above!)
Within these Wards are Parishes.
So I’m still working out new things I didn’t understand – at the latest council elections I found that wards and parishes are often the same thing, that there may be a parish council for the ward you live in (there is for me) or the ward you live in may be part of a town council, or part of the ward you live in may be part of a town council (I have no idea what happens for those parts of a ward where the other half is part of a town council – I fear they have nothing at the lowest level).
Also the council elections (Dacorum in my case) are based on wards – with each ward having a number of seats and you can vote for as many candidates as there are seats in your ward.
And for the EU elections we are part of Eastern region that stretches from us to the east coast (this is also the system the Labour party uses for regions so our regional office is Eastern)
It’s still confusing – I’m not sure I’ll ever get it all totally straight but if you have anything you’d like added or clarified I will try and work it out!
MAPS showing various boundaries.
Here you can play with highlighting the boundaries for Constituencies, Districts, Wards, regions. Sadly only two things at a time but I have found it very helpful.