A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city or county/shire level, but most legislative bodies at the state/provincial or national level are not considered councils. At such levels, there may be no separate executive branch, and the council may effectively represent the entire government. A board of directors might also be denoted as a council. A committee might also be denoted as a council, though a committee is generally a subordinate body composed of members of a larger body, while a council may not be. Because many schools have a student council, the council is the form of governance with which many people are likely to have their first experience as electors or participants.

A member of a council may be referred to as a councillor or councilperson, or by the gender-specific titles of councilman and councilwoman.

In politics

Meeting room of the city council at the Pori Town Hall in Pori, Finland

Notable examples of types of councils encountered in politics include:

In other fields

Types of councils encountered in other spheres include:

  • Arts council, a government or private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts
  • Bar council, a professional body that regulates the profession of barristers together with the Inns of Court
  • Buddhist councils, important historical events in the history of Buddhism
  • Council (Boy Scouts), a non-profit private corporation within Boy Scouts of America
  • Ecumenical council, a meeting of the bishops of the whole church convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice
  • Military council
  • Student council, a student organization present in many elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities
  • Synod in a Christian church
  • University Council running a university
  • War Council, discussions pertaining to a declaration of war, or tactics and strategy of a coming battle
  • Works council, a body representing the workers of a plant, factory, etc., elected to negotiate with the management about working conditions, wages, etc.
  • Youth council, an example of youth voice engaged in youth-led decision-making

See also


Disambiguation pages