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Local Council Information

Your local councillors are aware of the confusion that the different levels of local authority sometimes cause and we thought that a note of explanation would be of great help for everyone.

Suffolk operates a two-tier model of local government (actually, three when town and parish councils are taken into consideration). This is the most common form in the rural counties England, although unitary councils, as found in the metropolitan areas and which combine county and district roles, have been formed in some counties or parts of counties (some in the mid-90s and others more recently). In Suffolk we have one county council and five districts and boroughs:

  • Babergh
  • Ipswich
  • East Suffolk
  • Mid Suffolk
  • West Suffolk

East and West Suffolk were only formed in 2019 following the mergers of the former councils of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney (East) and St. Edmundsbury and Forest Heath (West). Babergh and Mid Suffolk have been working in close partnership since 2011, sharing staff and premises, but are still separate sovereign councils. The two cabinets have agreed a single Corporate Plan, backed up by shared strategies, and a Joint Local Plan for future development in the districts will soon be approved by councillors.

Suffolk CC is divided into Divisions that are represented by the county councillors. The districts and boroughs are divided into Wards, represented by the district or borough councillors. Most divisions and wards are represented by only one councillor, but there are some that have more than one – typically two but on occasion three.

All councils in Suffolk operate under a leader/cabinet governance model.

Suffolk county council has 75 councillors: 55 Conservative, 9 Green, 5 Labour, 4 Lib Dem and 2 Independent. The cabinet has 9 Conservative members. The leader is Matthew Hicks.

Babergh district council has 32 councillors:

Suffolk County Council is responsible for:


  • Construction and maintenance of non-trunk roads
  • Administration and maintenance (in partnership with landowners) of public rights of way
  • Administration of Traffic Regulation Orders
  • Administration of blue badges
  • Provision of on-street parking restrictions
  • Surface water flooding

Waste Disposal

  • Energy from Waste plant
  • Materials Recycling Facility
  • Landfill sites (only about 1% of waste now ends up in landfill in Suffolk)
  • Waste transfer stations
  • Household waste recycling centres
  • Coordinating county-wide waste strategy via the Suffolk Waste Partnership

Planning – approval of applications for:

  • minerals (gravel extraction)
  • waste (landfill sites)
  • county council developments such as schools or fire stations

Children, Families and Learning Services

  • Non-academy schools
  • Management of school places
  • School transport services
  • Careers and work experience advice
  • SEND services
  • Provision of children’s centres and family hubs
  • Support for young carers
  • Fostering and adoption services
  • Childcare information and support
  • Support for children in care and care leavers
  • Psychology and therapeutic services
  • Children’s health and safety services
  • Wellbeing and mental health services

Adult Services

  • Adult care and support services
  • Help for a carers
  • Independent living services – equipment, adaptations, meals, assistance, returning from hospital
  • Wellbeing and mental health services

Trading Standards Services

  • Issuing licences such as animal feeds, weighbridge or petroleum, fireworks and explosives or sports ground safety certificates
  • Enforcement
  • Information and support about fair trading and scams
  • Product safety advice and recall lists
  • Support and advice for businesses
  • Animal health and welfare

Community and Safety Services

  • Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub – anti-social behaviour, abuse, exploitation and radicalisation protection services
  • Community engagement and information services
  • Collaborative Communities Board
  • Emergency planning – Suffolk Joint Emergency Planning Unit
  • Road safety advice
  • Online safety advice

Culture, Heritage and Leisure Services

  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Suffolk archives
  • Archaeology service

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Registration of births, deaths and marriages


Your county councillor (Samford Division) is Georgia Hall: 07955 434445


Babergh District Council is responsible for:

Planning and Development Services

  • Planning policy
  • Development control and enforcement
  • Building control (but private companies compete for this)

Environmental Services

  • Street cleaning
  • Waste collection, including fly-tipping
  • Public conveniences
  • Environmental health, including safety inspections of food retail premises, environmental permits
  • Dog control

Roads and Transport Services

  • Off-street car parks

On and off-street parking enforcement (carried out by IBC and WSC on our behalf)

  • Maintenance of bus station (Sudbury)
  • Maintenance of some verges

Housing Services

  • Provision of social and affordable housing, including maintenance and repairs
  • Payment of housing benefits - the money is received from Government as a grant and is distributed as Housing Benefit to those who need it (changing under UC)
  • Housing advice
  • Helping the homeless
  • Independent living service

Licensing Services

  • Premises – alcohol sales, betting shops, casinos, adult entertainment venues and sex shops, tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Animal licences – zoos, kennels, catteries, day care, horse hire, animal sales, dog breeding
  • Taxis
  • Pleasure boats and boat hire
  • Street trading and pavement licences
  • Small society lotteries

Community, Culture and Public Services

  • Operating and maintaining parks, open spaces, playing fields and playgrounds
  • Provision of leisure centres (operation is outsourced to Abbeycroft Leisure)
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Community safety and Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub – anti-social behaviour, abuse, radicalisation protection services
  • Emergency planning – Suffolk Joint Emergency Planning Unit
  • Management of electoral registration and elections

Financial Services

  • Administration of council tax, including passing precepts on to SCC, PCC and parish & town councils
  • Administration of business rates
  • Administration of Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Management of property assets – residential development, industrial sites and business units
  • Administration of community and other grants and funding
  • Administration of Disabled Facilities Grants


Your district councillor (Brett Vale Ward) is John Ward: 07802 414981


Stratford St Mary Parish Council has nine available seats

Parish councillors are volunteers and receive no pay, except for the chairman who receives a small allowance to cover external representation duties.

Parish Councils are responsible for (where applicable):

  • Allotments, common pastures and letting of grazing rights
  • Baths and washhouses
  • Burial Grounds, Cemeteries and Churchyards
  • Bus Shelters
  • Bye-laws – the power to make bye-laws concerning: baths and washhouses (swimming pools), burial grounds, cycle parks, mortuaries, open spaces and pleasure grounds
  • Public Clocks
  • Maintenance of closed churchyards
  • Community centres, Conference facilities, Halls, Public Buildings
  • Crime prevention – power to establish a scheme for detection and prevention, including monitoring equipment; power to contribute to police services, e.g. PCSOs
  • Drainage – of ditches and ponds
  • Entertainment and the Arts
  • Public conveniences
  • Power to take enforcement action against flyposting and graffiti
  • Highways – lighting, parking places, right to enter into discussions about new roads and road widening, consent of parish council required for diversion or discontinuation of highway, traffic signs and other notices, tree planting and verge maintenance
  • Public seats and shelters
  • Signs – danger signs, place names and bus stops signs
  • Litter – provision of litter bins and support for any anti-litter campaigns, power to take enforcement action against littering
  • Planning – right to be notified of any planning applications for the area
  • Public buildings for meetings and assemblies
  • Recreation – provision of recreation grounds, public walkways, pleasure grounds, open spaces, village greens, gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps and boating ponds
  • Rights of Way – footpath and bridleway maintenance War Memorials
  • Water Supply – power to utilise stream, well or spring water and to provide facilities for general use
  • Raise money by precept
  • General Spending – parish councils can spend a limited amount of money on anything they deem of benefit to the community that is not covered by the other specific responsibilities described in this list, and enter into investment schemes
  • Land – acquisition and sale of
  • Legal proceedings – power to prosecute and defend any legal proceedings in the interests of the community, power to take part in any public enquiry
  • Postal and Telecommunication Facilities – power to pay a public telecommunications operator any loss sustained in providing services in that area
  • Tourism – financial contributions to local tourist organisations

Link here for a blog The Role of the Parish Council


Some more infomation:

Code of Conduct

Good Councillors' Guide

All about Local Councils