While much of the focus has been on the London Mayoral election, there are also elections taking place for the Welsh, Scottish and London assemblies; for mayors in Bristol, Salford and Liverpool; in local authorities outside London; and for police and crime commissioners across the country.
For most people, councillors help get potholes fixed, rubbish collected and occasionally support/oppose planning applications. For political parties, councillors are their most effective campaign tool. Someone who can be corralled into campaigning all year round because their livelihood depends on endorsement from their party.
It means that whenever local or regional elections come around, councillors are expected to dedicate most of the run up to election day campaigning, whether they are standing or not. Even in London boroughs, where there are no elections until 2018, all councillors will be being whipped (not literally) to ensure they are out on the doorstep nearly every day in April for their respective Mayoral and GLA candidates.
If you are looking to engage with local government, be aware that during April and the first week of May, you will find it extremely hard to secure meetings with any politicians. Furthermore, any politically contentious decisions will almost definitely be delayed until after the election. So if you are a developer with a clear project timeline from pre-app to completion, you should always check the election calendar and anticipate delays during the month of April.
Finally, if you are operating in one of these areas, it’s important to anticipate any changes in political control as a new council administration, assembly or Mayor will mean a new set of political priorities and a whole new set of relationships to build.