The ACLS Constitution defines the Council as a 15-member Board of Directors and one Delegate from each constituent society. The Council holds an annual meeting, elects officers and members of the Board of Directors, provides general and fiscal oversight, and, assisted by the Executive Committee of the Delegates, admits new members. Working with the president, the Board of Directors establishes overall direction and policy, allocates funds, oversees investments, and reports on all major decisions to the constituent societies.
Selected by their societies, ACLS Delegates serve four-year terms. An elected, seven-member executive committee discharges the major responsibilities of the Delegates. This committee also functions as the advisory committee on admissions of new societies and affiliates. The chair of the Executive Committee of the Delegates serves ex officio as a member of the Board of Directors.
The principal administrator from each of the constituent learned societies serves as a member of the Conference of Administrative Officers (CAO). The CAO similarly elects a seven-member executive committee, whose chair also serves ex officio as a member of the Board of Directors.