Aldermen & Freemen Criteria

Hello everyone,

We’re currently reviewing our processes for appointing Freemen and Aldermen within our authority, and we’re keen to gather insights from other authorities. Could you please share what processes your authority uses for appointing Freemen and Aldermen?

Specifically, we’re interested in understanding:

  1. What criteria are considered when selecting individuals for these roles?
  2. What is the nomination and selection process like? Do you have a panel that makes the decision or does an appointed officer make that decision
  3. Are there any specific qualifications or prerequisites required for candidates?
  4. How frequently are these appointments made? ie to you limited a certain number a year
  5. Any other relevant information or insights you can provide on the topic would be greatly appreciated.
  6. How regularly do your Freemen and Aldermen attend events - is there an expectation of them to turn up to events?

If you prefer emailing me direct please email

Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences and insights.
Emara - Exeter City Council

Hi Emara, Sandwell appointments Aldermen/Freemen as and when throughout the year. Just wanted to drop that in but will send you our criteria etc via email.

Our Aldermen are based on years service but also not ‘just’ awarded, a former Elected Member still needs to be nominated. In the past 2 years, we have awarded 4.

We had a small event recently for 2 of our Aldermen, 1 requested a private meeting with the Mayor to receive her badge and certificate (wanted no fuss) and the other was an extremely ill gentleman who received his badge and certificate at home, and very sadly passed away a couple of week later.

We also (at December Council) agreed that Freedom of the Borough be given to NHS Trust (Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust). I will look into this process and advise.

Will be in touch.


Hi Emara,

At Reigate & Banstead, Aldermen/women appointments are reviewed at least every other year - usually triggered after the May elections when long standing councillors retire. We do have criteria of 20+ yrs service and contributions to the borough. The request goes to group leaders, then ratified at Extra-ordinary council. The Mayor’s office then arrange for the actual installation ceremony - this can vary depending on circumstances eg those mentioned by Ruth.
This year we are installing Freemen/women for the first time in 20 years (as part of our 50 yr anniversary celebration) it was agreed to have a nomination form that someone could complete if they wanted to nominate a resident of the borough. Nominations then go to a judging panel - Mayor, Leader, Chief Exec. Successful nominations then go to Group Leaders and then extra-ordinary council.

I created the form loosely based on the national honours nomination process in order to encourage any applicants to then go on to nominate the potential Freeman for an honours award. The form asks for length of service and achievements within the borough. The nominator has to also nominate a cllr who will forward the nomination to their group leader as well as give the contact details of 2 other people who would provide a supporting letter.
In due course I will include a link to the nomination form on our website but it hasn’t been agreed yet how often the council are prepared to receive nominations for Freemen.

If you want any further info please email me at