How your council operates

In most parts of England there are two tiers of local government:

  • county councils
  • district/borough councils

In some parts of England there are also town or parish councils which have more limited powers. To find out more about the different types of local government structure in England, see Gov.UK, types of council In West Suffolk we have:

  • a county council (Suffolk County Council)
  • a district council (West Suffolk) 
  • 85 parish and town councils

You can find out more about what each council is responsible for from our page: How your councils work

How your district or borough council is structured

Under the Local Government Act 2000, councils can be structured in one of three ways:

Leader and cabinet

Local councillors elect a council leader who then appoints a cabinet. Each cabinet member has a range of responsibilities such as the environment and waste or families and communities. These areas of responsibility are known as 'portfolios' and a cabinet member can also be known as a 'portfolio holder'.

Executive mayor and cabinet

The public vote for a mayor who also acts as the leader, the mayor then appoints a cabinet.

Committee structure

This is an older style of council structure and usually now only applies to areas with a population of less than 85,000. In this structure there is no cabinet and so areas of responsibility are divided between committees.

How West Suffolk Council is structured

West Suffolk Council use the leader and cabinet structure. To find out which councillors make up the cabinet and what portfolios they hold, follow the links below:


West Suffolk Shadow Council

The Shadow Authority has several, specific committees with different responsibilities. The first of these is the Shadow Council, which is made up of all 72 members from both Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council. Their role is to oversee the transition of the council services to the new council ahead of it being established on 1 April 2019. The Shadow Council will take decisions on issues that are normally referred to Council, for example setting the 2019/20 budget, the level of council tax setting members allowances and appointing members to committees.

Councillor John Griffiths is the current Leader of the Shadow Council and Councillor James Waters is the Deputy Leader. It is expected that they will swap roles in November 2018.

Councillor Sarah Stamp is the Chair of the Shadow Authority and Councillor Brian Harvey the Vice-Chair.