Aldermen are appointed by the electors of their ward. It is an ancient right and privilege, going back over 800 years, for all those entitled to vote for Aldermen in the City of London to do so – to ensure that representation is provided with the authority of the electorate. Elections are every six years and Aldermen are required to retire at 70. The overall responsibilities of an Alderman are:
- to represent the businesses and residents of their Ward
- to serve as a Member of the Courts of Aldermen and Common Council, and to serve on Corporation Committees and related bodies, including charities such as schools
- to support the Mayoralty and Shrievalty to best effect, and to use the experience gained to prepare for higher office – as one of the two Sheriffs of the City of London and, later, as Lord Mayor.
The role of Alderman is a demanding one. As with Councilmen, the role is unpaid and, to be effective, a significant time commitment is required during the typical time taken to progress through the offices of Sheriff and Lord Mayor.