Friday, 23 July 2010


Webcasting of council meetings could be set to continue, after it was recommended by the council’s watchdog body.

The Overview and Scrutiny Panel decided to recommend that the pilot, which saw three council meetings webcast, should continue until the end of the municipal year in April 2011. This idea will now go to the next full council meeting in October, for members to make a final decision.

During the pilot, a total of 225 people logged on to watch the first meeting, which discussed the council’s budget in February. They watched the meeting for an average of almost seven and a half minutes.

The next meeting to be broadcast took place in April and was watched by 53 people for an average of around three minutes. This meeting covers items as diverse as planning obligations and developer contributions, licensing of sexual entertainment venues, members’ allowance schemes and polling places and polling stations.

The third meeting broadcast as part of the pilot was held in May and was the annual Council meeting, where decisions are made about who will be the council’s Leader, Chairman and who will sit on the council’s various committees. This attracted 75 views, with people watching for an average of just over three minutes.

Members decided to continue with the trial, due to the relatively low cost of providing the service, which works out to approximately £250 per transmission.

Cllr. Mike Harrison, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel, said: “I think it’s fair to say that all members of the Panel were disappointed that the pilot didn’t generate more interest. It’s a shame the number of website hits were so low for the three meetings that were webcast, as the issues being discussed were important to local people. Perhaps just as disappointing was the amount of time that people spent watching the meetings, with the average time as low as just three minutes, which barely allows for debate to get going. I think this is something that we should continue with. It’s important for the council to be transparent and open to public scrutiny and webcasting our meetings is one way of achieving that.”

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