On 1 April 2019 Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will be replaced by a single district council called West Suffolk Council. It will entirely replace the borough and district councils but will continue to deliver the same services while finding improved ways of supporting communities, businesses and the local economy. Over the next few weeks you may notice changes to the website, forms, letters and emails as we prepare for the creation of the new council.
On 1 April 2019, Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will be replaced by a single new district council called West Suffolk Council.
Elections will be held on 2 May for West Suffolk Council and all parishes in West Suffolk.
While the new West Suffolk Council will entirely replace Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury, it will continue to deliver the same top quality services while finding improved ways of supporting communities, businesses and the local economy.
Our make your mark campaign is part of a national drive to encourage people to take part in local democracy.
The Notice of Election will be published on Friday 22 March 2019. Please see the timetable for other key dates.
Nomination papers must be delivered to the Returning Officer, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3YU between Monday 25 March and, no later than, 4pm on Wednesday 3 April 2019.
It is advised that you contact the elections team on 01284 757323 to book an appointment for the informal check and delivery of your nomination paper/s.
One of the main roles of a councillor is to represent their ward or division and the people who live in it. Councillors provide an important bridge between the community and the council. As democratically-elected representatives, councillors have the potential to make a real difference in their community, for the benefit of all.
A guide on the work of local councillors can be found on the website of the Local Government Association.
The office of councillor is not a full-time role and it is down to individual councillors to decide how much time they commit to the role and how many duties they undertake. Many councillors have full-time jobs in addition to being a councillor.
The Local Government Association carried out a census of local councillors and found that their average time commitment for council business was around 25 hours per week. The full report can be found on the website of the Local Government Association
There is no salary for being a councillor, however, all county and district/borough councillors are paid a basic allowance, while performing their duties, to cover things like travel costs and to reflect the time it takes to be a councillor.
If a councillor becomes a member of the executive or a chair of a committee, they will receive an additional special responsibility allowance to reflect the additional responsibility and work that they have taken on.
You do not need any formal educational qualifications to become a councillor. There are, however, certain legal requirements you must meet to be able to stand for election.
To be able to stand as a candidate at a local government election in England and Wales you must:
Apart from meeting the qualifications for standing for election, you must also not be disqualified. There are certain people who are disqualified from being elected to a local authority in England and Wales.
You cannot be a candidate if at the time of your nomination and on polling day:
A person may also be disqualified from election if they have been disqualified from standing for election to a local authority following a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (formerly the Adjudication Panel for England) or the Adjudication Panel for Wales.
The Be a councillor website provides general information about becoming a councillor and how you can make a difference in your community.
If you are interested in becoming a borough or district council, the Electoral Commission has produced a useful guide.
If you are interested in becoming a parish councillor, the Electoral Commission has produced a useful guide.