Municipal year

Municipal year

The municipal year is a period used by local government in the United Kingdom. It starts in early May because that was roughly when the New Year originally started. It is not a fixed date so the number of days in any municipal year varies. It is the space of time between one round of local elections to the next. For most English councils, an unelected Mayor will take up their ceremonial office for a period of one municipal year only, though they may be re-appointed after an interval.[1][2] In addition to dictating mayoral terms of office, the period is also used as a basis for many councils' scrutiny and accountability arrangements.[3]

A few areas have opted by referendum to have directly elected Mayors, though they still tend to use the May–May municipal year as a convenient method of strategic planning.[4][5] The municipal year has been in use as a concept since at least 1555,[6] and has also been used – very occasionally – by town councils in the United States, though much less so now.[7][8]

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.[9][10] 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.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Former Mayors of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames". London, United Kingdom: Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Previous Mayors of the Borough". London, United Kingdom: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Scrutiny". London, United Kingdom: London Borough of Ealing. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Forum Agenda". Hartlepool, United Kingdom: Hartlepool Borough Council. 16 February 2010. pp. 3–4, 7. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Appointment of Committees; Allocation of Seats to Political Groups; Appointment of Chairs and Deputy Chairs of Committees; and Appointment of Representatives to serve on Outside Bodies". North Tyneside, United Kingdom: North Tyneside Council. 18 June 2007. pp. 1–2, 4. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Hammer, Carl (Autumn 1999). "A Hearty Meal? The Prison Diets of Cranmer and Latimer". The Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (3): 653. ISSN 03610160. OCLC 47076136. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ 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. ISSN 00027162. OCLC 50544474. 
  9. ^ Burne, Charlotte (30 September 1914). "Souling, Clementing, and Catterning. Three November Customs of the Western Midlands". Folklore 25 (3): 285–299. ISSN 0015587X. OCLC 44708348. 
  10. ^ Watson, Elsie (June 1901). "The Municipal Activity of an English City". Political Science Quarterly (Academy of Political Science) 16 (2): 262–282. ISSN 00323195. OCLC 39064101. 
  11. ^ 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 0332415X. OCLC 468020167. 

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