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Each ward elects three councillors to Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council.The whole area is within the City and East London Assembly Constituency.The southern part of Dagenham, adjacent to the River Thames, forms part of the London Riverside section of the Thames Gateway redevelopment area.Dagenham first appeared in a document (as Dæccanhaam) in a charter of Barking Abbey dating from 666 AD.
Historically in Essex, it was an agrarian village and remained mostly undeveloped until 1921, when the London County Council began construction of the large Becontree estate.
Dagenham Parish Council offices were located on Bull Street.
The expansion of the Greater London conurbation into the area caused the review of local government structures, and it was suggested in 1920 that the Dagenham parish should be abolished and its area divided between Ilford Urban District and Barking Town Urban District.
Dagenham is located approximately 11.5 miles (18.5 km) east of Charing Cross in Central London.
A large part of Dagenham is within the Becontree estate; however, the area also includes Becontree Heath, part of Rush Green, Old Dagenham village, and the southern section around Dagenham Dock and adjacent to the River Thames.