Consultations and engagement

We carry out many consultations with residents, business and other people who have an interest in West Suffolk.

Consultation statement

West Suffolk Council is committed to ensuring that everything we do takes account of the needs and views of local communities, residents, businesses and interest groups.

This happens through a wide range of mechanisms:

  • at the ballot box, through elections and referendums
  • through public access to council and committee meetings and papers
  • through councillors meeting residents
  • through our locality officers
  • through ongoing engagement with representative groups
  • through our transparency agenda
  • through customer feedback surveys
  • through social media
  • through our duties around petitions

Depending on the issue, different mechanisms are appropriate – co-design, engagement, dialogue, opinion polling or consultation. The information on this webpage focuses on consultation.

By consultation, we mean proactively seek input from people with an interest in a decision or proposed course of action by the council. Consultation is not a democratic process; it is used to inform decision makers about what people think about a decision and its likely impact.

West Suffolk Council is committed to listening to local people and undertaking meaningful and focused consultation that feeds directly into our decision-making processes, shaping the local area and services we provide. We want to ensure that consultations are relevant, cost-effective and have a real impact on how the council makes decisions.

It is important that we reach all groups that want to be involved, including hard-to-reach groups. We can do this by ensuring that consultation exercises are inclusive, accessible and appropriate.

West Suffolk Council has adopted the Consultation Principles Guidance issued by the Cabinet Office in January 2016. The principles apply to all council services.

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)

The consultation statement is also linked to West Suffolk Council's Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and the Addendum - amended practice in response to COVID-19 pandemic (June 2020). The SCI sets out how the council intends to involve all the people who have a stake or an interest in the future planning of West Suffolk, whether they are organisations, developers or members of the public.

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