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Council vs Committee
When it comes to taking decisions and executing power, there are many bodies that are involved with the process at different levels. At a glance, these bodies or groups of people may seem very similar and yet many factors that constitute them set them apart. Committee and council are two such bodies that get often confused for one another when it comes to executive bodies.

What is a Council?
A council can be defined as a group of individuals who come together in order to make decisions, consult or to deliberate on a common objective. At a city, town or county level, a council may function as a legislature representing the government although, on a national level, most legislative bodies are not considered as councils. In a town, certain schools and universities are run by two councils, which is considered as their local government. A member of a council is referred to as a councillor, councilman or a councilwoman. A board of directors may also be considered as a council.

What is a Committee?
Generally a subordinate to a larger deliberative assembly, a committee is a small deliberative assembly that serves various functions. In organizations that are too large for all members to participate, committees play a grand role in governance where a designated committee such as a Board of Directors or an Executive Committee is given the power to take decisions on behalf of the entire organization. In similar environments, committees also play an important in coordinating different part of the organizations where individuals representing various departments may meet up regularly to discuss the proceedings. Also, committees are formed in order to conduct research or come up with recommendations for planned projects or changes. A committee may also engage in tabling, which is a method of public relations where irrelevant, sensitive or inconvenient information is sent to the committees in order to stall or bypass a formal policy of inaction or indifference. In addition to that, committees may be formed to welcome special guests to a town (welcoming committee), organizing an event (organising committee) and etc.

What is the difference between a Council and a Committee?
Councils and committees both exercise authority, and this is perhaps why these two institutions are being confused for one another often. However, it is wrong to use these terms interchangeably since council and committee are set apart by various differences that are unique to each.

  • A council is a group of people or experts in their respective fields who come together to make decisions and deliberate. A committee is usually a small group, usually assembled in order to discuss specific matters at hand. Committees represent larger bodies.
  • A committee can be formed within a council. A council cannot be formed off a committee. Hence, a council is a bigger body than a committee with more power, as well.