No overall control


No overall control

Within the context of local councils of the United Kingdom, the term No Overall Control (abbreviated to NOC) refers to a situation in which no single party achieves a majority of seats and is analogous to a hung parliament. Of the 310 councils who had members up for election in the 2007 local elections, 85 (just over a quarter) resulted in a NOC administration.

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Administration in NOC councils

Typically, under the circumstances that no party achieves overall control of a council, the largest grouping will form alliances to create an ad hoc governing coalition. Due to local council elections tending to return larger numbers of smaller party and independent candidates than elections for higher bodies, this can allow these groups more influence than their numerical representation would otherwise allow.

Examples exist of alliances between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives (Birmingham City Council, Leeds City Council), Liberal Democrats and Labour (Southampton City Council until the 2008 local elections when the Conservatives gained control of the council), Conservatives and Labour in Ashfield and between all major parties and independents or residents associations. Alliances between different parties in this context are often referred to as a "rainbow coalition".[1]

It is possible for a council to be under no overall control even when there is an apparent majority, most usually with independents. This can arise when the councillors divide on other than party lines. The 2004 election to Isle of Anglesey County Council returned a notional majority of independents, but only Plaid Cymru maintained a party grouping, and not all of its members sat with the group. The remainder of the council, including members from the other main parties, formed four non-partisan groupings, none of which held a majority. The 2008 election resulted in the Original Independent grouping gaining a majority.

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