Have your say on civic leadership in West Suffolk

Residents are being urged to have their say on what civic leadership should look like for the new West Suffolk Council.

People are being asked their views to help councillors examine how West Suffolk should be represented at civic events, including championing and promoting local communities, businesses and the local area.

This will include looking at whether the new Council should apply to the Privy Council for borough status for the newly formed West Suffolk area.

People will be able to have their say from 9 July to the 2 September. They can answer questions online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/civicleadership and the shadow council will also be engaging with a number of stakeholder groups, including schools.

The new council has been created to better drive prosperity for the area, helping local communities while having a larger voice to champion West Suffolk and attract investment.

All councils must have a civic leader traditionally called Chairman or Chair. For those councils, who have borough status, this role can be called a Mayor if they choose to do so. Therefore, if West Suffolk Council successfully applied for borough status, it could have either a mayor or chair/ chairman as its civic figurehead

Currently the Forest Heath District Chairman and the St Edmundsbury Borough Council Mayor can be from any political party and is voted in annually by the council as a whole.

While still a ward councillor, the civic leader, when acting in their capacity as Mayor or Chair/ Chairman, is primarily concerned with the council’s ceremonial and community role. This might include representing the council at civic events such as Remembrance Day services and religious events, hosting other events and parades and supporting local voluntary, youth or charity groups.

Forest Heath District Councillor Ruth Bowman and St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor Carol Bull, Portfolio Holders for Future Governance, said: “The new Council is designed to better promote our great area, attract investment and further drive prosperity for the communities we serve. Civic leadership will play an important role in helping achieve those ambitions. Creating a new council for West Suffolk gives our communities an exciting opportunity to help shape how it works, given the council will be a new organisation, covering a larger area.

“As part of this, we are looking to redefine at the role of the civic leader for the new council. This is an important figurehead who not only chairs Council meetings but is a representative of the area at important events, championing our communities and businesses. We already know people have strong views about this subject and we now want them to tell us through this consultation and engagement process all of those views to help us shape civic leadership in West Suffolk.”