How the council works

Details of the make-up of Suffolk County Council, including councillors and staff.

You are represented by one or two of 75 county councillors.

Suffolk is divided into 63 electoral divisions, 12 of which are represented by 2 councillors. Large towns maybe split into several divisions and in rural areas groups of parishes make-up a single division.

The Council is currently controlled by the Conservative Party 

The full political make-up of the council is:

  • Conservative: 5
  • Green: 9
  • Independent: 1
  • Labour: 5
  • Liberal Democrat: 4
  • West Suffolk Independents: 1

The council is governed by the Constitution, which sets out rules determining how the council functions and makes its decisions.

The leader and the cabinet

The leader is elected for a four year term at the first annual meeting of each council term.

They have to:

  • provide effective leadership to Suffolk by managing and leading Cabinet
  • develop and approve policies, strategies and the plans of the council (except those which are subject to approval by the council)
  • act as an ambassador for the county
  • promote the work of Suffolk County Council

The leader selects up to 9 councillors to become cabinet members. Each member is responsible for a certain area of the council. The cabinet makes key decisions and sets the budget each year.

The role of the Deputy Leader is to step in for the Leader when they are not available.


Our councillors are responsible for making decisions about local services and budgets.

Decisions by the cabinet are subject to scrutiny by a different group of councillors, who meet in scrutiny committees to check and monitor what the executive does.

Council staff

Council staff implement the councillors' agreed policies.

There are three jobs that the council has a legal duty to provide:

  1. The Head of Paid Service - Nicola Beach, Chief Executive
  2. The Chief Financial OfficerLouise Aynsley, Head of Finance
  3. The Monitoring OfficerTim Ryder, Assistant Director, Scrutiny and Monitoring


Staff and services are organised into five main directorates:

  • Adult and Community Services (ACS)
  • Corporate Services (CS)
  • Fire and Public Safety (FPS)
  • Growth, Highways and Infrastructure (GHI)
  • Health, Wellbeing and Children's Services (HWC)

The directors of each department make up the corporate management team with the Chief Executive, the senior officer who leads and takes responsibility for the work of the paid staff of the council. 

Council pay structure

The council staff pay structure contains eight grades, and the senior management pay structure contains five grades - Chief Executive, Director (in two grades), Assistant Director (in two grades) and Senior Managers. The pay median - the ratio of the highest-paid post and the average salary - is 1:6.

Code of Conduct

Download Suffolk County Council Code of Conduct (PDF, 29KB).