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Ask The Cabinet: Up close and personal

Boston Borough Council's Ask the Cabinet sessions are about to get a whole lot more personal.

Instead of an open public question-and-answer session residents will be able to get up close and personal with influential executive members and quiz them in a much more private environment.

There will be no cameras, no microphones and no webcast - just opportunities to chat one-to-one with councillors at a much more personal level.

The first new-style session will be held on Monday, July 18, at Municipal Buildings from 6pm to 8pm. Members of the council's Cabinet will be available to answer questions about their special portfolio areas. The council's chief executive and senior managers will be on hand to assist.

Residents can just turn up - no need to give advance warning of their questions - and will be booked in for ten-minute slots with the councillors most appropriate to give them answers. Residents are asked to attend at 5.45pm so they can be booked in. They can see more than one councillor. Refreshments will be available.

Cllr Peter Bedford, leader of Boston Borough Council, said: "It was felt that some people may have felt intimidated by the previous Ask the Cabinet arrangements, which meant asking their questions in public, using microphones and being broadcast across the web.

"This will be much more informal, personal and private - more like a regular councillor surgery. I am hoping this will encourage more to attend. We want to see an interest in what we do, and perhaps what we don't do, and welcome questions on any subject pertinent to the work of the borough council. I think this willingness to change and adapt shows we are transparent and open and prepared to give answers to what may be some quite tricky questioning.

"Questions could be asked about public toilets, footway lighting, grass cutting, litter, fly tipping, waste collections, council tax, austerity measures, street drinking; anything that is pertinent to the council - nothing will be off limits."

The following councillors will be available at the first session:

Cllr Peter Bedford - council leader with responsibilities for coastal strategy, strategic conservation, heritage and local development framework planning, county and regional partnerships, building control, emergency planning, climate change, transformation programme, development control, Port of Boston, regeneration and media;

Cllr Michael Brookes - deputy leader with responsibilities for street cleansing, garden waste, refuse and recycling, environmental health, democratic services, parish councils, performance and improvement;

Cllr Paul Skinner - town centre development and management, car parks, markets, May Fair, public toilets, community safety and health and safety;

Cllr Claire Rylott - leisure services, parks and open spaces, country parks and reserves, playing fields, tree management, Guildhall, Tourist Information Centre, arts, crematoria and cemeteries, allotments, grounds maintenance and health and wellbeing;

Cllr Michael Cooper - housing, community transport, property, homelessness, older people, child and adult safeguarding, community development and voluntary sector support.

Cllr Aaron Spencer will not be available, but Cllr Bedford will answer questions from his portfolio area - finance, procurement, IT, corporate governance, licensing and land charges, customer services, Freedom of Information and complaints.