Types of elections

UK parliamentary (general) elections

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

Barnsley has the following constituencies:

  • Barnsley Central
  • Barnsley East
  • Wentworth and Dearne (Dearne North and Dearne South wards)
  • 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, a parliamentary election may be called at any time within the five year term. 

European parliamentary elections

European parliamentary elections are held every five year to elect members of the European Parliament.  The next European parliamentary election will take place in 2019.

The UK elects 73 Members of the European Parliament using a system of proportional representation. This means the number of seats won by a political party is proportionate to the number of votes received.

Barnsley is in the European electoral region of Yorkshire and the Humber.

Police and Crime Commissioner elections

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is a new role that was introduced by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. It replaces local police authorities. 

The PCC doesn't run the police. It's responsible for holding the police to account on behalf of the public.

Barnsley is part of the South Yorkshire Police Area with Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

The first PCC election took place on 15 November 2012.  Future elections will be held every four years. They'll take place on the first Thursday in May, at the same time as local government elections.

Local government elections

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

We have 21 electoral wards in Barnsley; each is represented by 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 democratically elected bodies in the English system of local government.  These councils represent smaller communities in the more rural areas 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 by-election takes place 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 or councillor. 

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