The Council is a legislative body and is the supreme governing body of the IEC. Its members are:
- the Presidents of all IEC Full Member National Committees
- the current IEC Officers and all Past Presidents
- the Council Board members
Only the Presidents of Full Member National Committees have the right to vote, with one vote per country.
The Presidents of Associate Member National Committees are not members of Council but they are encouraged to attend meetings as observers.
The Council sets IEC policy and long-term strategic and financial objectives. It delegates the management of IEC work to the CB (Council Board), with specific management responsibilities in the spheres of standards, conformity assessment and market strategy being assumed respectively by the SMB (Standardization Management Board), the CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) and the MSB (Market Strategy Board).
In addition to being responsible for financial matters, the Council elects the IEC Officers and the members of the CB, SMB and the CAB.
The Council is also responsible for approving applications for IEC membership and proposed amendments to the IEC Statutes and Rules of Procedure, and for resolving appeals from the Council Board.
The Council meets (see meetings calendar) at least once a year at the IEC General Meeting (list of general meetings dating back to 1904), usually on the last day. While Associate Members are not permitted to vote, they may if they wish introduce an item on the Council meeting agenda and the President may ask them to speak on that subject during the meeting. In between meetings the Council members vote by correspondence.