The sovereign power of the Ancient and Accepted Rite in England and Wales is committed to a Supreme Council consisting of nine Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, as prescribed for every country by the Grand Constitutions. It has the responsibility of managing the affairs and promoting the wellbeing of the Order, including the consecration of new Chapters, and of maintaining fruitful relationships with other Masonic bodies, both nationally and internationally. It is in amity with Supreme Councils in many foreign jurisdictions.
Each member of the Supreme Council holds the highest degree of the Order, the 33°, as do some 50 Inspectors General in England and Wales and 20 in Districts overseas, to whom authority is delegated to manage their appointed Districts, and a few others who contribute very significant services to the Order, or to Freemasonry in general. These include the Grand Patron, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.
Authority is further delegated to Chapters to confer degrees from 4° to 18°. The higher degrees are generally conferred by the Supreme Council at regular ceremonies, and recognise substantial services to the Order: 30° (including 19° to 29°), 31°, 32° and 33°.