Wrexham Council are looking to trial video webcasting of Council meetings over the coming year, if a proposal is accepted at the forthcoming Executive Board meeting.
The Welsh Government is strongly encouraging authorities to embrace this concept. In support of this they have allocated grants amounting to £1.25 million across Wales for local authorities to:
- Broadcast all/some council meetings.
- Arrange for remote attendance by councillors at council meetings.
- Provide funding to community councils to assist them with the development of websites.
Wrexham’s share of the grant is £40,000 for the first two elements, with a further £17,000 (£500 per community council) to be distributed to community councils for the development of their websites. However there is no guarantee of grant funding in future years, thus the proposal of a webcasting trial to see if there is demand for the service.
Three options are being considered, one is to return the grant and not attempt webcasting, another is to enter into a three year contract for a lesser service. The third option is the basis of the recommendation which the report being considered states “by purchasing a shorter term contract, perhaps one year as a pilot exercise and utilising some of the funding to purchase the
“Modern.Gov” committee administration software package (at a cost of approximately £17,000) which is used by the majority of local authorities in England and Wales and will give us greater functionality as well as linking to the chosen webcasting solution.”
Wrexham.com asked the Council if webcasts will be rights free, so not restricted in their reuse eg. for websites to use, mashups to be made, archives to be created or reuse by individuals or companies. Currently the Council dont know and this is one of the questions and hopefully answers that is likely to be solved during the trial.
Clr Neil Rogers told us “It is a learning process for us. Hopefully the people of Wrexham will have an interest.”
We reported back in June how this was on the cards this year, and how although some rules changed to allow tweets, the overall rules will still rather backward. Hopefully the advent of webcasting will mean other rules are adapted and changed to bring reporting of council business up to date.
If members of the Council agree to proceed with the trial at the forthcoming Executive Board meeting it is possible that the next Executive Board meeting in October could be the first broadcast online.
Pic: What people a few miles away in Cheshire get to see online.