Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
An LGC exclusive by Mithran Samuel ...
An LGC exclusive by Mithran Samuel

The government's first experiment with new local elected bodies has failed to re-invigorate political engagement, with lower turnouts than council elections, according to a study.

The report on New Deal for Communities schemes by the LGC Elections Centre at Plymouth University finds that, in most cases, turnouts were lower than those for comparable council elections.

The report follows disappointing turnouts in the first elections for foundation hospital governing boards (LGC, 16 April), the government's second extension of the electoral principle locally.

Crucially, the study - believed to be the first analysis of elections for the community regeneration schemes - suggests voters may have been turned off by the sheer number of elections in their area.

The report puts a significant question mark against the government's claims that other local elected bodies, such as community councils or directly elected police authorities, could help combat voter disengagement.

Professor Michael Thrasher, who co-authored The new deal for communities: assessing procedures and voter turnout at partnership board elections, said: 'Personally speaking, the number of times that people are being asked to vote is bound to impact on the frequency with which they will vote.'

The report, which looks at 25 NDC board elections, finds that in 17 cases turnout was lower than in council elections for the same area, when adjustment had been made for all relevant factors. The study has yet to be published.

And NDC turnouts were particularly low in London, which the authors suggest may be the result of the parallel introduction of Greater London Authority elections.

Professor Thrasher added: 'If the number of elected bodies proliferates I can only conclude the number of people participating will decline.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.