Types of elections

UK parliamentary (general) elections

General elections give you the chance to choose your Member of Parliament (MP). This is the person who will represent your local area in the House of Commons.

Barnsley has the following constituencies:

  • Barnsley North
  • Barnsley South
  • Penistone and Stocksbridge (Dodworth, Penistone East and Penistone West wards)

The political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons forms the government.  It then serves for a maximum of five years.  However it may be called at any time within the five year term. 

South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority election

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) brings together the local authorities of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. It has powers and resources, devolved from Westminster to South Yorkshire. This allows it to take decisions locally about the South Yorkshire economy, transport, skills, housing and infrastructure. The functions of the former Police and Crime Commissioner role now also sits within the SYMCA Mayoral role. Residents of Barnsley are able to vote to elect the mayor of the SYMCA every four years. The last SYMCA Mayoral election took place on 2 May 2024.

Local government elections

Local government elections give you the chance to elect councillors to represent your local area. 

We have 21 electoral wards in Barnsley; each has three councillors. Find out more about Barnsley’s councillors.

They take place over a four year cycle. A third of seats are elected every year for three years, no elections are made in the fourth year.

Elections are usually held on the first Thursday in May.

Parish and town council elections

Parish and town councils are the most local elected bodies in the English system of local government.  These councils represent smaller areas in the more rural places in the east and west of the borough.

Barnsley has 17 parish and town councils.  Find out more about parish and town councils.

Elections to parish and town councils take place once every four years, unless a casual vacancy arises.  In this case, the vacancy must be advertised.  If 10 electors from that parish request an election one must be held, otherwise the vacancy may be filled by co-option.


A parliamentary by-election happens when a seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant between general elections. This might be due to the resignation, illness or death of a sitting MP. A local council by-election takes place when a seat on the council becomes vacant due to the resignation or death of a sitting councillor. It can also occur if they fail to attend any meetings within six months and haven't been granted permission to do so. These may be granted for reasons such as ill health or maternity leave.

The vacant seat can be filled through a by-election. This is only if the vacancy occurs at least six months before the date for normal elections.