A body of councillors elected by the inhabitants of a local government area (see franchise) to exercise local government functions. In England (except Greater London) areas are governed either by county councils and district councils (in a two-tier system) or by unitary authorities (single-tier system); this mixed system of local government was introduced between 1996 and 1998. There are in addition parish councils for parishes with 200 or more electors. In Wales the local authorities are the county council, the county borough council, and the community council. The Welsh county and county borough councils are unitary authorities.
All councillors are elected for four years. A candidate for election to any local authority must be over 21 and a British citizen, a citizen of another Commonwealth country, or a citizen of another member state of the EU, must have sufficient local connection (e.g. residence, local employment, or voting rights), and must not be disqualified (e.g. by reason of holding paid office or employment under the authority).