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The City of London is divided into 25 wards. Each ward elects one Alderman and two or more Common Councilmen (collectively referred to as Members, equivalent to councillors), dependent on its population. There are currently 100 Common Councilmen and 25 Aldermen serving as elected representatives, representing public interest and informing how the City of London Corporation should carry out its various activities.

Common Councilmen are elected every four years to serve on the City Corporation’s committees. The next Ward elections are scheduled to take place in March 2017. Their position in the City is a purely voluntary one and it is not remunerated. Between two and ten councillors are elected to represent each of the City Corporation’s 25 Wards, dependent on the size of the electorate. They work alongside the Aldermen, of which there are 25 (one per Ward), to oversee the work of the City Corporation and the delivery of a diverse range of services to residents, City workers and visitors.

Aldermen have jurisdiction over their Wards and for centuries each Ward has elected one Alderman. Whilst full City-wide elections are held every four years for Common Councilmen, the Aldermen are elected as and when their individual six yearly terms of office expire. The Aldermen are members of the Court of Aldermen, from which future Sheriffs and Lord Mayors of the City of London are selected. Whilst the Court of Aldermen is focused on progression to and support for the Mayoralty, they also oversee the creation of new Livery Companies and Guilds and maintain a historic link to the Livery. They also serve on Common Council committees, act as governors and trustees of a variety of schools, hospitals, charitable foundations and trusts with ancient City connections. Aldermen are elected for six years from their date of election, so there is no single date on which they are elected.

The work of the City Corporation is overseen by the Court of Common Council (comprising of Common Councilmen and Aldermen) and certain key decisions are taken by that body. The majority of the City Corporation’s work is, however, carried out through various committees which are established by the Court. Each councillor has an opportunity to serve on a number of committees made up of representatives from each of the various 25 wards. These are known as Ward Committees and they have broad responsibilities, including oversight of the City Corporation’s finances, planning & transportation, community & children’s services, port health & environmental services; and culture, heritage and libraries responsibilities. The councillors from each individual Ward agree among themselves who will serve on these committees but there are also opportunities to be elected to them. In addition, there are also a number of committees that are elected by the Court. The work of these committees is wide-ranging and includes, for example, the City Corporation’s police authority work, policy and resources, the running of the Barbican Centre, and the City’s open spaces.

In terms of the political composition of the Court of Common Council, the majority of councillors have not been elected on a party political basis and their political status is therefore listed as Independent. The Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee is also a senior member of the Court of Common Council and is a member of the Leaders’ Committee of London Councils, which comprises the lead councillors from across the London Boroughs. The main difference from standard local authority governance is that the City Corporation’s decision making is based on a committee structure, rather than a cabinet system whereby the Leader of a Council and Executive Members are the principle decision-makers.

Unlike other local authority areas, councillors in the City of London do not hold surgeries, but are contactable on a more ad hoc basis – please use the links below.


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