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Council Elections 2018

This advisory details our coverage of English, Scottish and Welsh council election nominations and results, focusing on messages sent on the wire.

For details of messages in XML format for digital products, please see the page on XML format under Message specifications

Key dates and times:

  • Nominations close: Thursday April 6 (to be confirmed).
  • Polling day: Thursday May 3.
  • Declarations: from the early hours of Friday May 4 and during the day.

Elections will take place at 151 councils in England, comprising:

  • 32 London boroughs
  • 34 metropolitan districts
  • 68 non-metropolitan districts
  • 17 unitary authorities.

Some councils have elections for all seats while others have a third of their seats up this time and a few have half their seats up. See the Councils list [link] for details.

At least five mayoral elections will be taking place – see separate advisory.


Boundary Changes

Councils with local boundary changes coming into effect for the May 3 polls will be listed here in due course.

Please see section below for information on the handling of results for councils where there have been boundary changes.


Results

Rushes will be sent immediately after final declarations for a council where that council has changed control. These will be catchlined POLL Metro for metropolitan boroughs, POLL Non-Met for non-metropolitan districts, POLL Unitary for unitary authorities, and POLL London for the London boroughs – all followed with the council name. For example, POLL Unitary Bristol.

They will have the category code: XTJ

Example text for rush messages:

  • C lose Worcester to no overall control
  • C gain Peterborough from no overall control

If it becomes clear in advance of final declarations that a council has changed control, a rush will be sent in the general news service under the usual editorial category code: HHH

Results will be sent immediately after final declarations for a council. These will be catchlined POLL Metro for metropolitan boroughs, POLL Non-Met for non-metropolitan districts, POLL Unitary for unitary authorities, and POLL London for the London boroughs – all followed with the council name. For example, POLL Unitary Bristol.

They will be category-coded:

  • XLD for data format
  • XLR for plain text (TTY).

Collated runs of all council election results in so far will be sent using the same category codes on Friday May 4 at about 0430, 0630, 0930, 1800 and later when all results are in. They will be catchlined POLL Metro, POLL Non-Met, POLL Unitary, and POLL London – followed by the keyword, Collated. For example, POLL Metro Collated.

Examples of a "full council" result (catchlined POLL Non-Met Westborough) in plain text (TTY) and in data format:

Westborough
C gain from Lab
Lab lose 6, C gain 4, LD gain 2
New council: C 28, Lab 22, LD 4
{00}Westborough} }
{01}C} }Lab} }
{03}Lab} }lose} }6
{03}C} }gain} }4
{03}LD} }gain} }2
{04}C} }28
{04}Lab} }22
{04}LD} }4

In the case of a council where there have been boundary changes, the result will include the text “Boundary change” below the council name and changes in the numbers of seats held by parties as a result of the poll will be shown as “up” and “down” rather than “gain” or “lose”.

If a result has to be corrected, the catchline will be styled POLL Correction followed by the council type and the council name. Example: POLL Correction Unitary Peterborough. Where there is a change to the winning party a rush correction will be sent with the same catchline.


Statistics

We will be transmitting during the declarations up-to-date details of nationwide party seats and control changes. They will be catchlined POLL State of Parties Council under the category code: XTH

Example of SoP gains and losses table:

With results available from 15 out of 88 councils, the state of parties is:
Party     Total     Change in     Seats    Net change
          councils  control       won      in seats
Lab        4                       297      +11
LD         3         +1            161       +4
C          1                       201      -15
Ind                                 30       +1
Others                               5       -1
Noc        7         -1

We will send out lists of councils gained and lost by parties, catchlined POLL Statistics, category code: XTH

Fictional example of council changes list:

Conservative lose to NOC
Tendring

Labour lose to NOC
Plymouth
Stoke-on-Trent
Telford & Wrekin

Liberal Democrat lose to NOC
South Somerset
Three Rivers
Watford

Conservative gain from NOC
Basingstoke & Deane
Brentwood
East Staffordshire
Eden
Gloucester
Herefordshire
High Peak
St Albans
Scarborough
Staffordshire Moorlands
Teignbridge
Winchester
Worcester
Wyre Forest

Conservative gain from Labour
Amber Valley
North Warwickshire

Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat
Hinckley & Bosworth

Conservative gain from Independent/Other
Richmondshire

Labour gain from NOC
Bradford
Stockton-on-Tees
West Lancashire

Party abbreviations

  • Conservative (C)
  • Labour (Lab)
  • Liberal Democrat (LD)
  • Green Party (Green)
  • United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
  • British National Party (BNP)
  • Independent/Other (Ind)
  • Independent Community and Health Concern (Ind CHC)
  • Liberal (Lib)
  • Ratepayers or Residents (R)
  • Vacant (Vac)

Quick Reference Table

Catchlines and category codes:

Message Catchline Text category Data category
Rush POLL (followed by council type and council name) XTJ
Rush correction POLL Correction (followed by council type and council name) XTJ
Result POLL (followed by council type and council name) XLR XLD
Result correction POLL Correction (followed by council type and council name) XLR XLD
Collated results POLL (followed by council type and council name) Collated Result XLR XLD
State of parties POLL State of Parties Council XTH
Councils gained and lost by parties POLL Statistics XTH

Elections Live Coverage

All narrative copy, claims/pointers (giving indications for key councils in advance of final declarations), reaction and analysis, will run in the general news service using the usual editorial code: HHH


Tests

We will be sending test results ahead of the election, with voting figures generated at random by computer. Please see separate advisory for the test programme.

All test material will be marked clearly as "PA Test".

You MUST check before polling day that any test material has been cleared from your systems.


Queries

Speak to Elections Editor Roger Smith on 020 7963 7992 or email via the Contact us page. During nominations or election events, phone the Elections Desk on 020 7963 7992, Newsdesk on 020 7963 7146 or Customer Services on 01430 455337.

Customers, especially digital-only customers who do not see PA wire advisories, may wish to follow @pressassocpolls on twitter for technical and operational updates from the Elections Desk.

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