|Legislatures by country|
A councillor is a member of a local government council.
In the United Kingdom all local authorities are overseen by elected councillors. These include:
- unitary authorities
- county councils and district councils
- parish, town and community councils
- The Common Council of the City of London (in which councillors are known as aldermen and councilmen)
According to Debrett's Correct Form the English title "Councillor" (often shortened to ‘Cllr’) applies only to elected members of city, borough or district councils. However, there is no legal basis for this restriction and in practice the title is applied to all councillors at all levels of local government. Where necessary, parish and county councillors are differentiated by the use of a fuller title such as "town councillor" or "county councillor". The title precedes the holder's rank or other title, as in Cllr Dr Jenny Smith or Cllr Sir James Smith, and for women it precedes their title of marital status, as in Cllr Mrs Joan Smith.
Councillors are typically elected as members of political parties or alternatively as independents. Councils may also co-opt unelected councillors to fill vacancies on a council where insufficient candidates have stood for election, although in practice this is rare outside parish councils. Once elected, they are meant to represent all the residents under the whole authority, not just those who voted for them or just those in the district or ward they were elected in. They are bound by a code of conduct enforced by standards boards.
In 2007 the age limit for councillors fell to 18, leading to younger people standing.
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Most councillors are not full-time professionals.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland most larger borough, unitary authority or county councils do pay them basic allowances and out-of-pocket expenses. In addition special responsibility allowances are paid to councillors who carry out more senior duties. The basic allowances and special responsibility allowances are theoretically paid to compensate councillors for time spent on council duties, and are classed as salaries for tax purposes. Parish, town or community councillors may, since the Local Government Act 2000, be paid for their services, but most are not.
In Scotland since 2007 councillors have received a salary of 15,000 pounds, as opposed to a series of allowances. These are often topped up by special responsibility allowances.
In particular, the title is used in the following cases.
- City council for U.S. cities that do not use the title of alderman
- Council of the District of Columbia
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Under the Philippine Republic Act No. 7160 (otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991), a councillor is a member of a local council that is the legislative body of the local government unit.
In Finland councillor (neuvos) is the highest possible title of honour which can be granted by the President of Finland. There are several ranks of councillors and they have existed since the Russian Regime. Some examples of different councillors in Finland are as follows:
- Councillor of State: the highest class of the titles of honour; granted to successful statesmen
- Mining Councillor/Trade Councillor/Industry Councillor/Economy Councillor: granted to leading industry figures on different fields of economy
- Councillor of Parliament: granted to successful statesmen
- Office Councillor: granted to leading university figures
- Councillor of Culture/Theatre Councillor/Film Councillor: granted to leading culture figures
- Chamber Councillor: granted for successful officials in the field of local government
In Australia, The Bahamas, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Botswana, Trinidad & Tobago and other parts of the Commonwealth, as well as in the Republic of Ireland, a councillor or councilor is an elected representative on a local government council.
In the Netherlands, a member of the municipal council is called a gemeenteraadslid or raadslid. Someone out of this group who is elected to serve on the municipal executive is called a wethouder, which is usually translated as ‘alderman’ or ‘councillor’. The Dutch word for mayor is burgemeester. This is expressed in English as "mayor" or "burgomaster". The municipal executive is referred to collectively as the College van Burgemeester en Wethouders.
In Belgium, a member of the municipal council is called a gemeenteraadslid in Dutch, and Conseiller Communal in French. Someone out of this group who is elected to serve on the municipal executive is called a schepen in Dutch or échevin in French. This is usually translated as "alderman" or "councillor" in English. The municipal executive is referred to collectively as the College van Burgemeester en Schepenen ou Collège du Bourgmestre et Echevins.
In Hong Kong, members of district councils are also referred to as councillors. Before 1999 the district councils were known as district boards, upon the abolition of the municipal councils (the UrbCo and the RegCo) in December that year. In addition, members of the legislative council are also referred to as councillors. From 1996 to 1998 the Legislative Council were known as "Provisional Legislative Council", upon the abolition of the interim legislature in July 1998.
In Norway, a member of the municipal council, kommunestyret, is called a kommunestyrerepresentant in Norwegian. The Norwegian word for mayor is ordfører.
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