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Council vs. Committee: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 19, 2023
A council is a body elected or appointed for administration or governance, while a committee is a group designated for a specific task or function.

Key Differences

A council is typically a larger, formal group with a broad scope of governance or administrative responsibilities. Whereas, a committee is generally a smaller, focused group formed for specific tasks or to advise on particular issues.
Councils often have wider authority and may have legislative or decision-making powers. Committees, in contrast, are usually advisory or working groups with limited authority, focusing on specific functions or inquiries.
The term 'council' is often used in the context of local government, organizational leadership, or international bodies. While, committees are more common within organizations or legislative bodies, tasked with detailed analysis or recommendations on certain matters.
Membership in a council often reflects a broader representation and may involve elected or appointed individuals. On the other hand, committee members are usually selected for their expertise or interest in a specific subject area.
Councils play a role in setting policies or strategies and may have a more permanent status. Committees, being task-oriented, often have a temporary existence, dissolving after their specific mandate is completed.

Comparison Chart


Broad governance or administration
Specific tasks or advisory functions


Wider authority, possibly legislative
Limited authority, often advisory

Context of Use

Local governments, leadership, international bodies
Organizations, legislative bodies


Broader representation, elected or appointed
Selected for expertise on specific issues


Often permanent or long-term
Typically temporary until task completion

Council and Committee Definitions


A council is an assembly of people convened for advice, administration, or legislation.
The city council approved the new urban development plan.


A committee refers to a subgroup formed to investigate, report, or act on a particular matter.
The health committee is working on a proposal to improve hospital services.


A council is an administrative or legislative group in a government or organization.
The environmental council proposed new sustainability guidelines.


A committee is a group of people appointed for a specific function, typically within a larger organization.
The audit committee reviewed the company's financial statements.


A council is a formal assembly with a broad scope of responsibilities.
The international council convened to address global economic challenges.


Committee implies a temporary group formed for a particular purpose or project.
The selection committee interviewed candidates for the managerial position.


A council refers to a body of individuals elected or appointed for governance.
The school council meets monthly to discuss educational policies.


Committee denotes a group of individuals designated to perform a specific task.
The planning committee is responsible for organizing the annual conference.


Council denotes a body that deliberates and makes decisions on collective matters.
The council decided to increase funding for public health initiatives.


A committee is an advisory or working group with a focused area of responsibility.
The safety committee implemented new workplace safety protocols.


An assembly of persons called together for consultation, deliberation, or discussion.


A group of people officially delegated to perform a function, such as investigating, considering, reporting, or acting on a matter. See Usage Note at collective noun.


A body of people elected or appointed to serve as administrators, legislators, or advisers.


(Archaic) A person to whom a trust or charge is committed.


A body of one or more persons convened for the accomplishment of some specific purpose, typically with formal protocols.


(archaic) A guardian; someone in charge of another person deemed to be unable to look after themself.


One or more persons elected or appointed, to whom any matter or business is referred, either by a legislative body, or by a court, or by any collective body of men acting together.


One to whom the charge of the person or estate of another, as of a lunatic, is committed by suitable authority; a guardian.


A special group delegated to consider some matter;
A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours


A self-constituted organization to promote something


How is a council formed?

Councils are typically formed through elections or appointments.

What types of decisions does a council handle?

Councils handle broad decisions related to governance, policy, or strategy.

Can a council make laws?

Some councils, especially in government, have legislative powers.

Is council membership permanent?

Council membership can be long-term but not always permanent.

Do committees have decision-making powers?

Committees typically have limited decision-making powers, often providing recommendations.

What is the primary role of a council?

A council's primary role is governance, administration, or policy-making.

What is the main function of a committee?

Committees are primarily for specific tasks, advisory roles, or investigations.

How are committee members chosen?

Members are often selected for their expertise or interest in the committee's focus area.

Do councils have a wider scope than committees?

Yes, councils generally have a broader scope compared to the more focused scope of committees.

Are committees always temporary?

Most committees are temporary, but some can be ongoing with a long-term focus.

Can individuals be part of multiple committees?

Yes, individuals can serve on multiple committees, depending on their expertise and interest.

Can a committee propose new policies?

Committees can propose policies, but these typically require approval from a higher authority.

Can a committee exist within a council?

Yes, committees can be formed within councils for specific tasks.

How is the effectiveness of a committee evaluated?

The effectiveness of a committee is evaluated based on its success in achieving its designated task.

What happens to a committee after completing its task?

After completing its task, a committee is usually dissolved or reappointed for another task.

Do councils and committees interact?

Yes, councils and committees often interact, especially when committees report to a council.

Are council meetings open to the public?

This varies, but many council meetings, especially in government, are open to the public.

Can a council delegate tasks to a committee?

Yes, councils often delegate specific tasks to committees for detailed consideration.

How often do committees meet?

The frequency of committee meetings depends on the nature of their task or project.

Are council decisions binding?

Council decisions are generally binding within their scope of authority.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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