A councillor is a member of a council (such as a city council), particularly in the U.K. and its former colonies. The US equivalent is councilman or councilwoman.
It is not the same as a counselor, who provides counsel or advice.
In the United Kingdom, Councillors are elected representatives that make up three levels of local government in non-unitary areas i.e:
- Borough or District,
- Town, Civil Parish or Community (not necessarily present in urban areas)
The above pattern applies outside of major urban areas.
London Boroughs are truly unitary.
The situation with Unitary Authorities is less straightforward. Many, typically former Metropolitan boroughs are truly unitary while others, such as Milton Keynes, are fully covered by second-tier Town and Civil Parish councils. Many fall between these extremes.
To confuse matters further the word City is of ceremonial and local pride significance only. Any of the above levels, apart from Counties, may have the rank of city. For example Lichfield is a third-level council but was awarded that status in 1980.
While the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament can be seen as tiers of regional government with elected legislative bodies, their members are not referred to as County Councillors.
Councillors are typically elected as members of political parties. Once elected they are meant to represent all their constituents and not just those who voted for them. They are bound by a code of conduct enforced by standards boards.