THERE is more than one election taking place tomorrow, because there is more than one local council in Oxfordshire.

In most parts of the UK, one local council is responsible for most of the local public services in an area, including libraries, leisure centres, schools, collecting and disposing of rubbish, looking after adults and children in need of care, and repairing the roads.

But in Oxfordshire things are a bit different.

Here, there is a two-tier system with a county council looking after certain services and smaller district councils looking after others.

The county council is responsible for services including:

  • schools,
  • maintaining and building roads,
  • local libraries,
  • and adult and child social care (this includes care homes, carers visiting homes, and children who do not have a family to look after them)

The district councils, including Oxford City Council, are responsible for:

  • council housing,
  • bin collections,
  • leisure centres,
  • making decisions about local planning applications.

Electing a new council is a bit like electing a new Parliament except instead of choosing an MP to make decisions on your behalf on a national level, you choose a councillor to make decisions on your behalf on a local level.

Whichever political party gets a majority of seats on the council is able to take forward its ideas for how local services should be managed.

In Oxfordshire County Council, the Conservatives usually win the largest number of seats, but at the last election did not have enough for a true majority, and ruled with the help of independent councillors.

In Oxford, the city council usually only puts up half of its members for election, but because of a boundary change, all 48 seats are up for grabs. That means that people voting in Oxford will be able to elect two city councillors.

Labour has historically held a majority on the council.