How your councils work

There are a variety of different types of council in England, together they form what is known as local government. In West Suffolk there:

  • is a county council - Suffolk County Council
  • are two district councils (St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council)
  • are 85 parish councils (25 in Forest Heath and 60 in St Edmundsbury)

Each type of council has responsibility for providing different services, these are set out below.

Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council is broadly responsible for: 

  • adult and community Services
  • children and young people's services (including schools)
  • economy, skills and environment (including highways)
  • public protection

West Suffolk - Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council working together

For a number of years, Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council have been working together as West Suffolk, but particularly since 2012, when all staff started working across both councils. Both councils are district councils in terms of their functions, although St Edmundsbury has "borough status". This is an honorary status which is granted by royal charter. In broad terms, West Suffolk is responsible for:   

  • housing
  • waste and recycling
  • planning and building control
  • licensing and environmental health
  • culture and community development
  • economic development
  • running elections

West Suffolk's leisure services in the Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury areas are run by Abbeycroft on behalf of the councils.

Council Tax and benefits are administered on behalf of West Suffolk by Anglia Revenues Partnership

To find out more about the West Suffolk area, read: About the area

Town and parish councils

The responsibilities of town and parish councils vary, depending on the locality. In broad terms, they may be responsible for:

  • allotments
  • cemeteries
  • bus shelters
  • village halls
  • open spaces
  • footpaths

Contact details for parish and town councils are available: Parish council contact details

Devolution Suffolk

Devolution is the next step in our journey of public sector reform. For more information visit Devolution