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How we make decisions

Court of Common Council in session

Our chief executive

The Town Clerk, is head of the ‘paid service’ and is responsible for the organisation's efficient management. The role also involves giving councillors strategic advice on policy-related issues, drawing on the experience and expertise of the organisation as a whole.

The Court of Common Council

The Court of Common Council is the City Corporation's primary decision-making assembly, and usually meets every four weeks. Its main business focuses on the reports of committees and members' questions and motions. It works through committees, like any other local authority, but it is unique in that it is non-party political.

Members of the Common Council (equivalent to councillors, also referred to as Common Councilmen) are elected by the wards of the City every four years. Each ward returns between two and 10 members depending on the size of the electorate.


Councillors represent a wide range of professions and City interests and take the major strategic decisions that direct the work of the City Corporation. They sit on a variety of committees - also open to the public - that manage the organisation’s different functions.

There are two main types of committee – the first is made up of one member from each of the City's wards plus ex-officio members (membership due to holding a specific office or role); the second is made up members directly elected by the Court of Common Council plus ex officio members. They are elected on a non-party political basis and are unpaid.

The Court of Aldermen

There are 25 Aldermen, one elected for each Ward in the City of London. They all serve on the Court of Aldermen, which meets eight times a year and is chaired by the Lord Mayor. Aldermen are elected at least every six years on a rolling basis.

Aldermen also serve on the Court of Common Council committees, act as governors and trustees of a variety of schools, hospitals, charitable foundation and trust with connections to the City of London.


The City is divided into 25 wards and 125 members are elected to represent them. Each ward elects one Alderman and two or more Common Councilmen, depending on its population, totalling 100 Common Councilmen and 25 Aldermen.

Full City-wide elections are held every four years with by-elections and aldermanic elections in between. Because the City has a relatively small number of residents compared to City workers, it has two categories of voters: resident and business.

More about...

Key roles Key councillors
Your councillors Who they are and how to contact them
Becoming a councillor​ How to get elected
Committee​ Each committee in detail
Calendar​ When the next meeting is taking place​
Meetings​ Find out more about each meeting, agenda, minutes, decisions
Subscribe to updates​ How you can register to receive regular updates
Search documents​ How to find archived agendas, reports and minutes
12 March 2012
Last Modified:
07 January 2020