Municipal year

The municipal year is a period used by local government in the United Kingdom. The municipal year usually begins in May, following any local elections. It is not a fixed date so the number of days in any municipal year varies.


The municipal year has been in use as a concept since at least 1555,[1] and has also been used – very occasionally – by town councils in the United States, though much less so now.[2][3]

Historically, in some English council areas[where?], the beginning of a new municipal year took place in November[why?], and was a traditional time for celebration and festivities. In Newcastle-under-Lyme in the 19th century, the election was known as Mayor-choosing day, or clouting-out day, and was – according to one contemporary source, "the very Saturnalia of play." Large-scale street games were played by children (imprisonment and subsequent rescue, or "clouting out", with knotted ropes, of young people was the source of the name), and the free distribution of apples and penny coins were also customs.[4][5] In the Irish city of Galway, in the Middle Ages, the newly appointed or -elected officers would, by convention, provide an enormous feast for the town's "more distinguished citizens", while others took to the streets and made merry.[6]


England and Wales

The start of the municipal year follows any local elections taking place that year, typically in May. Some councils have elections every four years whereas others have elections on three years out of four, with a third of seats contested at each election.

The Local Government Act 1972 Section 99 requires that an annual meeting must take place between 8 and 21 days of the election of councillors, and outside of election years the annual meeting can take place on any day in March, April or May.[7]

Section 23 (1) requires that "the election of the chairman shall be the first business transacted at the annual meeting of a principal council". Vice-chairmen are also elected by the councillors. The chairman and vice-chairman of a borough in England, and a county borough in Wales, is known as mayor (spelt maer in Welsh) and deputy mayor (dirprwy faer in Welsh). In councils with directly-elected mayor executive arrangements, a chairman or civic mayor is elected by the councillors in the same way.[7]

During the rest of the year the council can hold as many meetings as are required.[7]

See also


  1. Hammer, Carl (Autumn 1999). "A Hearty Meal? The Prison Diets of Cranmer and Latimer". The Sixteenth Century Journal. 30 (3): 653–680. doi:10.2307/2544811. ISSN 0361-0160. JSTOR 2544811. OCLC 47076136.
  2. "SEC. 6". Municipal Ordinances, Rules, and Regulations Pertaining to Public Hygiene: Garbage and Refuse – Care and Disposal. East Providence, Rhode Island, United States: City of East Providence. 1 July 1911.
  3. Chase, Harvey (November 1906). "Notes on Municipal Government Municipal Accounting in Boston and Louisville". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. American Academy of Political and Social Science. 28: 95–104. doi:10.1177/000271620602800307. ISSN 0002-7162. OCLC 50544474.
  4. Burne, Charlotte (30 September 1914). "Souling, Clementing, and Catterning. Three November Customs of the Western Midlands". Folklore. 25 (3): 285–299. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1914.9718825. ISSN 0015-587X. OCLC 44708348.
  5. Watson, Elsie (June 1901). "The Municipal Activity of an English City". Political Science Quarterly. Academy of Political Science. 16 (2): 262–282. doi:10.2307/2140576. ISSN 0032-3195. JSTOR 2140576. OCLC 39064101.
  6. O'Sullivan, M (1939). "The Use of Leisure in Old Galway". Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. 18 (3/4): 99–120. ISSN 0332-415X. OCLC 468020167.
  7. Local Government Act 1972