London boroughs

The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that make up the ceremonial county of Greater London; each is governed by a London borough council. The present London boroughs were all created at the same time as Greater London on 1 April 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 and are a type of local government district. Twelve were designated as Inner London boroughs and twenty as Outer London boroughs. The City of London, the historic centre, is a separate ceremonial county and sui generis local government district that functions quite differently from a London borough. However, the two counties together comprise the region of Greater London, all of which is also governed by the Greater London Authority.

London borough

The thirty-two London boroughs in England
CategoryLocal authority districts
LocationGreater London
Created byLondon Government Act 1963
  • 1 April 1965
Number32 (as of 2013)
Possible types
Possible status
Areas15–150 km2
  • London borough council

The London boroughs have populations of around 150,000 to 300,000. Inner London boroughs tend to be smaller, in both population and area, and more densely populated than Outer London boroughs. The London boroughs were created by combining groups of former local government units. A review undertaken between 1987 and 1992 led to a number of relatively small alterations in borough boundaries. London borough councils provide the majority of local government services (schools, waste management, social services, libraries), in contrast to the strategic Greater London Authority, which has limited authority over all of Greater London.

The councils were first elected in 1964, and acted as shadow authorities until 1 April 1965. Each borough is divided into electoral wards, subject to periodic review, for the purpose of electing councillors. Council elections take place every four years, with the most recent elections in 2018, and the next elections due in 2022. The political make-up of London borough councils is dominated by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. Twenty-eight councils follow the leader and cabinet model of executive governance, while four have directly elected mayors (Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets). The City of London is instead governed by the City of London Corporation (and the Inner and Middle Temples, which are not governed by the City of London Corporation).