In the United Kingdom, a local election is an election in which local government officials, known as Councillors, are elected to office for their unitary authorities. Local elections generally take place in May, and elected Councillors sit for four-year terms. Councils act as government for a local region, and are allocated a budget by the government. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, these budgets are decided by the devolved parliaments for these nations; the budgets and powers for English councils are decided by the Government of the United Kingdom in the UK Parliament.
As well as electing Councillors, in London local elections also determine the Mayor of London (currently Boris Johnson), who has more executive powers than ordinary councils and councillors, given the size of London and the fact that it is an area with many individual unitary authorities, but is required to be highly coordinated, due to the overlapping infrastructure.
Local elections are similar to a General election (in which Parliamentary representatives (MPs) are elected), in that Councillors are elected to represent specific constituencies, within the unitary authority's boundaries. Councillors are also usually members of political parties, and sometimes progress to becoming party candidates at general elections.