Update Report on the Recording of Meetings
- Meeting of GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE, Thursday, 29 March 2018 10.00 a.m. (Item 41.)
- View the background to item 41.
To consider a verbal update setting out the latest position regarding the recording of meetings at the Council.
The Committee received a verbal update setting out the latest position regarding the recording of meetings at the Council. The contract with Public-I had been extended for a further year until February 2019 to allow the continuation of live streaming of meetings and the opportunity to include additional meetings at an extra cost.
Currently, the Development Management Committee, Council, the Executive and all four Overview and Scrutiny Committees were webcast. The Committee gave consideration to which additional meetings it thought should also be webcast. It was suggested that the Traffic Management Meeting should be webcast but it was noted that this meeting was often held at alternative venues which may not have the facility to webcast. It was agreed to consult the Executive Member for Community Services for his views.
It was considered to be beneficial for Audit Committee meetings to be webcast to enable greater transparency. It was agreed that this would be considered for inclusion in the list of Committees currently being webcast.
A suggestion was also made for the Beds Police and Crime Panel and the Beds Fire and Rescue Authority to be included but, in line with Bedford Borough Council, with only the audio being recorded. It was noted that this would incur additional cost and significant change to the current service.
The Committee were asked to consider if they would like historic webcasts to be made available online at an additional cost of around £7k. Currently the Council’s website displays the last six months for viewing but have received enquiries in the past to view older webcasts via Freedom of Information requests. The Committee agreed to include these historic webcasts at the additional cost.
It was noted that in providing more detailed minutes for the Development Management Committee, there was increased pressure on resources and it was asked if webcast meetings could return to a more succinct form of minutes. It was agreed that those committees webcast could return to this form of minute but that Development Management Committee was a special case and would continue to be webcast alongside the provision of detailed minutes, but they would not need to include names or reference to who made what statement.
The Committee was advised of a possible move towards webcast meetings having only one officer present to clerk the meeting and also run the webcast. Currently there were cost implications due to all webcast meetings currently having two officers present (one to clerk the meeting and one to run the webcast). The Committee considered the implications such as Members arriving late and having to be logged in to speak. The suggestion was made that Members receive additional training to be able to log on to the microphones themselves.
The Committee also discussed the implications for this with regards to managing speakers. It was noted that Council and the Development Management Committee would continue to have two officers in attendance and that other webcast meetings would trial using only one officer.
It was also suggested that a wide angle shot of the Council Chamber be used instead of microphones cutting to each Member throughout the meeting which would remove the use of ID cards. It was noted that this could lead to confusion as to who was speaking, and the Committee decided not to support this proposal.
1. to webcast Audit Committee meetings and to consult the Executive Member for Community Services with a view to webcasting Traffic Management Meetings;
2. that historic webcast be made available on the website;
3. that the minutes of webcast meetings be succinct with the exception of Development Management Committee which would be detailed, but not include names or reference to who made what statement;
4. that webcast meetings would only have one officer in attendance with the exception of Council and Development Management Committee whereby two officers would be required; and
5. that webcasts would not adopt the fixed wide shot of the Council Chamber but continue to use the microphones and ID cards as currently in place.