The first Cabinet of the new Labour administration running Birmingham City Council has certainly raised a few eyebrows.
If the slightly unconventional titles revealed in recent weeks were not enough, now the people filling the chairs has caused a stir.
Sir Albert Bore promised a few weeks ago that he was going to drop a bombshell on the council with his new constitution. Now, being allowed for the first time as Labour leader to select his own team, he has dropped another on a stunned Labour group.
There has been a huge intake of new blood to the Labour membership over the last two rounds of council elections.
So it is perhaps not as surprising as some suggested that a number of senior councillors who filled his last Cabinet in 2004 and have served in shadow cabinets since did not make the cut.
Times have certainly changed since either Catherine Grundy or Mohammed Afzal last ran a council department.
Added to this Albert’s decision to cut two Cabinet posts because responsibility, along with a share of the allowances, has been handed down to the ten district chairmen and women.
In fast tracking Selly Oak councillor Brigid Jones and Harborne councillor James McKay after just one year on the City Council, Sir Albert has sent out a message that this is a new beast.
Is it a coincidence that like Sir Albert, Coun Jones has a degree in physics?
The very set up of the Cabinet has changed. Instead of heading departments in the traditional ways, the Cabinet members will push policy agendas whether it’s the green economy, social cohesion, procurement or raising life expectancy.
It seems only the adult social care and children’s social services and education departments have a direct cabinet leader.
Even then the likes of Cabinet member for social cohesion and equality John Cotton, or Tahir Ali who is looking after jobs and development, can poke their noses in.
Alongside the conceptual make-over is a modernisation of the Council House offices – including an open plan office for the six Cabinet members and senior officers.
The idea, according to deputy leader Ian Ward (who like Sir Albert gets a private office) is that it creates a Cabinet office which takes a view of the whole council, rather than the old ‘silo’ working. There will probably be brainstorming sessions, break out areas and plenty of water-coolers about to breed a creative environment.
It was a model of leadership which was devised with one eye on an elected mayor coming in, and it is now arguable that the Sir Albert is the indirectly elected mayor.
His manifesto, drawn up in consultation with city MPs including Liam Byrne, Jack Dromey and Gisela Stuart, and public pronouncements have put jobs and setting Birmingham as an enterprise city very much to the fore.
Backbenchers and a couple within the new administration are a little cautious of the new setup suggesting it is a gamble. There is suspicion of the imported corporate management structure more suited to the trendy jean-clad IT tycoons of Silicon Valley than a Town Hall.
And having appointed relative council novices to both the Cabinet and the scrutiny committee chairs over those who thought they ranked higher in the pecking order has created a few enemies who are just waiting for Albert’s experiment to fall flat.