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 are:

  • a county council - Suffolk County Council
  • two district councils (St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council)
  • 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 social care and health
  • children, families and learning (including schools, adoption and fostering)
  • community and safety (including trading standards)
  • economy, skills and environment (including blocked drains, cycle lanes or tracks, highways, pavements, potholes, street lights)

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:   

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

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

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