The City of London Wards find their origins in the Middle Ages. At the time, small areas within a city were able to act as self-governing communities with their own assemblies (wardmote) and systems of public order (elected beadles). Today there are 25 Wards in the City and although their boundaries have changed throughout the centuries, they still maintain their geographic and administrative entities together with their electoral and political duties.
All wards are represented on the Court of Common Council by an Alderman and a number of Common Councillors.
Aldermen and Common Councillors are elected by the electors of the ward who are registered to vote on the relevant ward list. Registration occurs annually when forms are sent to all residents and businesses in the City.
The City has a unique demography with a relatively low residential population but an estimated daily working population in excess of 500,000. This is reflected in its electorate.
About the elections
"The City is the only area in the country in which the number of workers significantly outnumbers the residents and therefore, to be truly representative of its population, offers a vote to City organisations so they can have their say on the way the City is run."
The City of London Wardmote book is a guide to the procedure to be followed at ward elections in the City of London, from the registration of voters to the qualifications of candidates in elections and the day of the election.
For Common Councillors, elections are held every four years. Aldermanic elections are held as required, as Aldermen serve a term of six years. These are elections for Aldermen and Common Councillors only – not for the Greater London Authority, UK or European Parliaments.
They sit on the different committees that discuss and make decisions on the day-to-day activities and projects of the City of London. The crucial issues that arise from these committees go on to be debated in the Court of Common Council. Common Councillors cover a wide range of professions and City interests but do not represent any political party. They are elected for a four year term.
Each ward has one or two Deputies, depending on the size of the ward. Common Councillors are appointed as Deputy at their wardmote by the Alderman for their ward. Their role is to deputise to the Alderman.
The Alderman is the senior Member of a ward and also sits in the Court of Aldermen which has historic functions such as approving people for Freedom of the City and approving the formation of new livery companies. The Lord Mayor is drawn from the ranks of the Aldermen. There are separate arrangements for Aldermen whereby they face re-election every six years.
If the number of candidates nominated equals the number of places vacant those candidates are returned. However, irrespective of whether or not there is a contest in an individual ward, a meeting known as a 'wardmote is held. At this meeting the voters in the ward have the opportunity to meet and question the candidates and raise issues with them. All registered voters will be written to individually to inform them of the time and date of the wardmote, and poll, if required.