Public are only excluded when absolutely necessary

RECENTLY, during both cabinet and full council meetings, reporters have requested explanation of the reason for proposed exclusion of press and public.

The council’s purpose is to serve the people of Boston and clearly the provision of detailed and timely information is important, however we must also balance the legal requirement on occasion to maintain confidentiality when required – especially where personal and/or commercially sensitive information is concerned.

The council’s constitution does not allow for the public or press to participate during the course of council meetings with the exception of questions from members of the public (and press) at the start of the meetings of full council.

The council considers any exemptions very seriously and only applies these where absolutely necessary. Where it is possible to provide a covering report that is not exempt we will endeavour to do so. The public interest test is always considered.

Details of a proposed exemption in advance of the meeting taking place can be requested and/or a written question submitted in advance of the meeting.

All questions from the press and public must be received in writing (including via email) two clear working days prior to the day of the meeting.  

Questions should be submitted to the democratic services manager, Lorraine Bush, lorraine.bush@boston.gov.uk, and state who the question is to be asked of ie council leader, cabinet member, committee chairman.

The constitution also requires answers to questions submitted by the public to be made available to the questioner fours hours before the start time of the meeting.

Richard Harbord

Chief executive

Boston Borough Council