UK Politics

Q&A: Election results 2013

What elections are taking place in 2013?

Elections will be held in 34 local authorities in England and one in Wales on 2 May 2013.

In addition, Doncaster and North Tyneside are voting for directly-elected mayors.

When are results expected?

Some councils will begin counting ballots as soon as polls close at 2200 on 2 May.

Approximately six - Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Somerset and Hampshire - are expected to declare results overnight.

Other councils will start their counts on Friday morning, and the majority of results is expected to come from midday on Friday.

How is council control calculated?

If a party has a majority on any particular council, it is deemed to be in control of that council.

On other councils no group has a majority and these are described as "No Overall Control" or "Hung".

Council control prior to the election has long been defined by the BBC, PA and others as which party has a majority on the eve of the poll.

So if a council was won by the Conservatives in 2009, but then through defections and by-election losses became No Overall Control in 2011, in 2013 we would describe it as a Conservative gain should the party regain its majority.

How is seat change calculated?

In previous years the BBC, along with other media organisations, has derived its results from the Press Association (PA).

To calculate how many seats each party has won and lost, the number of seats each party holds on each council just before the election is researched by PA and the BBC, and compiled into a data "baseline".

The election results are then compared with this baseline to show seat change for each council and nationwide.

However, this year the BBC will measure 2013 change in seats by comparison with the last election, 2009, when most of these councils were elected (thus ignoring subsequent by-election changes and councillor defections).

This brings local elections into line with what we do at general elections.

In 2013, however, about one-third of the councils facing election have been subject to ward boundary changes, sometimes resulting in fewer seats overall and often in changes to the boundaries of existing seats.

In the case of these councils, the BBC will use notional results based on 2009 voting in the new seats, as the baseline.

Notional results project what the result of the last election would have been if the new boundaries had been in place in 2009. This enables the performance of parties in 2013 to be compared with 2009.

These notional results been compiled for the BBC by and Professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher from the University of Plymouth, who are acknowledged experts in this field.

The total number of seats per party will be slightly different between the seats-at-dissolution and those won in 2009.

What do 'NOC' and 'VAC' and other abbreviations mean?

Abbreviations used in the election are listed below.

BNP: British National Party

CON: Conservative

ED: English Democrats

LAB: Labour

LIB: Liberal

LD: Liberal Democrat

GRN: Green Party

ICHC: Independent Community & Health Concern

IND: Independent

MK: Mebyon Kernow

NOC: No Overall Control

RA: Residents Association

TOAD: Idle Toad Party

UKIP: UK Independence Party

VAC: Vacant

What is happening in Anglesey?

Anglesey was due to hold elections with all other Welsh councils in 2012.

However in March 2011, commissioners were appointed to run the council by the Welsh government amid serious concern over the behaviour of councillors and how the council was being run.

The election was postponed until this year, and the council is in the process of being restructured.

From May 2013, it will be re-organised into 11 multi-member wards electing 30 councillors, replacing 40 councillors elected from 40 separate electoral divisions.

These changes make calculating seat change extremely difficult.

Anglesey council is currently not controlled by a party or single group, but some Independent councillors act as a formal coalition, and may continue to do so after the election.