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How the council works

Read about how the council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures followed. Councillors make decisions about the services that the council provides at meetings which you can attend.

Boston Borough Council is made up of 32 councillors. Each councillor is elected to represent an area in the district (called a ward) for a period of four years. Some wards have more than one councillor to represent them and elections are usually held every four years at the beginning of May.

Councillors come from all walks of life. Some are retired but many others have full time jobs. They are volunteers who represent the interests of local people. The next borough council election will take place in 2015. The borough is divided into 18 wards. Click on the "Your Councillor" link for further details of councillors (in wards) or "Elections" for more information on electoral registration.  See the pdf file below for a ward map of the borough, which shows the councillors for each ward.

Councillors are democratically accountable to electors of their ward. The overriding duty of councillors is to the whole community, which the borough council serves, but they have a special duty to their constituents including those who did not vote for them. They represent your interests, set priorities and allocate how money will be spent on your local services.

Councillors have to agree to follow a code of conduct (Boston Member Code) to ensure high standards in the way they undertake their duties.

If you would like to know more about becoming a candidate for local government elections, you should call the Democratic Services Manager on 01205 314224.

Councillors are not paid for their work, but they are entitled to claim for allowances based on recommendations of an independent remuneration panel. The details of these allowances are published annually.

Decision making

The Constitution sets out how we operate, how decisions are made and the procedures, which are followed to ensure the council is efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.

Councillors make decisions about the services that the borough council provides at meetings that are open to the public (except for personal and confidential items).

You can obtain copies of reports, agendas and minutes for Council meetings by contacting the democratic services section on 01205 314226. Please state which committee's report/agenda you are interested in. There may be a small charge for some reports.

Alternatively, you can click on the "Meetings and agendas" link or email us at democratic@boston.gov.uk

The Full Council

There is an annual council meeting each May and there are usually five or six other full council meetings held during the year. Meetings of the council are normally open to the public and the business to be discussed is always published in advance in an agenda.

The councillor who is appointed to chair the meetings of the council is called the mayor. There is also a deputy mayor who can act in the mayor's absence. The mayor is the first citizen of the borough and represents the council and the people of the borough at ceremonial and other civic functions. Click on the links for more information about the mayor and civic regalia.

The council as a whole (that is to say all 32 elected councillors) makes decisions on the constitution and determines key policies and the annual budget.

The current political composition of the Council is: 
Conservative - 17
Independents - 4
Independent Group 2 - 4 
Labour - 3 
Lincolnshire Independents - 2 
English Democrats - 1
Unaligned - 1

The Cabinet (Executive)

The leader and Cabinet is the part of the borough council which is responsible for most day to day decisions, other than those delegated to officers. The Cabinet meets monthly. Key items to be considered by the Cabinet over the next few months are set out in the forward plan.

The leader and the Cabinet have to make decisions, which are in line with the borough council's overall policies and budget. If it wishes to make a decision, which is outside the budget or policy framework, this must be referred to the council as a whole to decide, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

Here is a useful guide to Cabinet meetings, issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government.pdf icon Public Guide to Cabinet Meetings [76kb]

In this borough, the council appoints a leader who then appoints a deputy leader and between one and eight other councillors to serve on the Cabinet.

Since 2011-12, the Cabinet has consisted of seven councillors: Peter Bedford (leader), Raymond Singleton-McGuire (joint deputy leader), Mike Brookes (joint deputy leader), Derek Richmond, Stephen Woodliffe, Yvonne Gunter and Mike Gilbert.

The leader and each of the other Cabinet members have specific areas of responsibility or 'portfolios':

Their portfolios are as follows:

Cllr Bedford: Coastal strategy, strategic planning - conservation/heritage/LDF, county and regional partnerships, transformation programme, development control, port of Boston, regeneration, and media

Cllr Singleton-McGuire: Finance (including revenues and benefits), procurement, IT, corporate governance, customer services, freedom of information, and complaints

Cllr Brookes: Street cleansing, green waste, refuse and recycling, democratic services, parish councils, performance and improvement

Cllr Gilbert: Housing, community transport, property, homelessness, older people, community development and voluntary sector support

Cllr Gunter: Leisure services, parks and open spaces, country parks and reserves, playing fields, tree management, crematoria and cemeteries, allotments and grounds maintenance

Cllr Richmond: Town centre development and management, car parks, Boston Business Improvement District (BID), markets and public toilets

Cllr Woodliffe: Building control, environmental health, community safety, emergency planning, health and safety, licensing and land charges

Scrutiny committees

The overview and scrutiny - corporate and community committee and the overview and scrutiny - environment and performance committee support the work of the Cabinet and council as a whole.

Audit and governance committee

There is a separate committee which consists of 9 members and one lay member and reports direct to Cabinet and council.

Regulatory committees

Local Authorities are not just service providers; they also regulate certain activities. By law, regulatory committees are independent from the Cabinet.  The Council's regulatory committees are the planning committee and the licensing/regulatory and appeals committee.  Here is the Annual Planning Committee Report for 2012/13.  pdf icon Annual Planning Committee Report 2012-13 [570kb]

The Boston town area committee (BTAC)

This committee meets quarterly on a Wednesday at 6.30pm and comprises all elected Members representing the town wards of Boston. Its role is to:

a. Exercise and perform the powers and duties of the council in respect of the non-parished Boston town area of the borough for those services and functions delegated to it.
b. Take responsibility for the town's special area expense account (SAEA)
c. Reflect and represent the views of town wards and residents.

Here is the Annual BTAC Report for 2012/13. pdf icon Annual BTAC Report 2012-13 [36kb]

The international links committee

This committee meets on an ad hoc basis and deals with all matters relating to the council's formally recognised international relationships, including allocation of funding (NOTE: funding recommendations are subject to Cabinet approval).

Council staff

Council employees often known as officers are the people who put council policies into effect and organise the provision of services. Officers may also make decisions that have been delegated to them by councillors. They are led by the chief executive and management team, known as the corporate management team, and are supported by the senior managers' team. Council employees also include those on the front-line of providing the services such as park attendants and refuse collectors.

Councils are also required by law to designate:

A head of paid service (usually the chief executive) responsible for the staffing of the authority, ensuring work of the different departments is co-ordinated and making sure the organisation runs efficiently.

A section 151 officer (usually the director of finance or resources) responsible for financial administration and probity. This officer has the power to stop the council from spending money if he/she thinks it is unwise or unlawful.

A monitoring officer (often the council's solicitor) who is responsible for warning the councillors about anything the council does which is likely to lead to legal action or to a finding of mal administration by the ombudsman.

Related documents

Size Name
[573kb] Councillor ward map Map showing the borough's wards and the councillors that represent them

The documents in this section are in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view these files which can be downloaded from the Adobe website free of charge.