Britain is almost unique among Western democratic nations in maintaining no official record of the results of sub-national elections. Several scholars have attempted periodically to collect such information for their own research concerns, but currently there is no comprehensive, consistent and computerised data base available to the whole research community.
This project aims to establish such a database for all local government elections in England and Wales since local government reorganisation in 1973. Results will be taken from the official figures as compiled by local returning officers, and particular attention paid to obtaining accurate information on ward electorates and party labels.
The value of the database to researchers will be enhanced by the systematic inclusion of references to allow the identification of the parliamentary constituency within each ward falls; the tracing of changes in ward boundaries over the period since 1973; and the matching of ward level electoral data with material collected for the 1981 census.
A machine-readable data set for each diet of elections, and for elections in each tier of local government over time, will be deposited with the ESRC Data Archive. The continued collection of local election results is assured for the foreseeable future thanks to the generous sponsorship given to Polytechnic South West by Local Government Chronicle.