The number of people tuning in to watch meetings via Wrexham Council’s webcast system has increased over the past year.
Throughout 2016 thousands tuned into watch the monthly Planning and Executive Board meetings, which are webcast live on the Wrexham Council website.
Tomorrow members of the Democratic Service Committee will evaluate figures for last year’s webcasts and consider the options to continue webcasting certain Scrutiny Committee meetings, during the period April 2017 and March 2018.
Wrexham Council began webcasting its Planning, Full Council and Executive Board meetings in August 2014. This expanded in April 2016 to allow for a 12-month pilot period to allow up to five Scrutiny Committees to be webcast – with a maximum of 10 hours of webcast time provided.
From January 2016 to December 2016:
– Council meetings were viewed a total of 1306 times (318 live; 988 archived);
– Executive Board was watched 2583 times (766 live; 1817 archived)
– Planning was watched 2972 times (833 live; 2139 archived)
– Scrutiny Committees (all three combined) were watched 356 times (98 live; 258 archived)
The most viewed meeting of the 2016 was the 12th January – which a look back through the Wrexham.com archives shows was the date the Executive Board approved plans to press ahead with the demolition of the Groves.
The Groves debate gave the viewing figures of the March 2016 Full Council meeting a boost, with 407 people tuning in to see councillors debate the proposed demolition.
As you may expect the vast majority of viewing figures were through the archived footage, with the Executive Board meetings having the most views.
Overall the average amount of viewings for all webcast meetings during the past year had increased from the equivalent figures in 2015.
Councils are not legally required to webcast meetings, although it is strongly supported by Welsh Government and is linked to goals in the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 to strengthen local democracy and encourage public participation.
Cllr Carole O’Toole, Chair of the Democratic Services Committee, said: “Given the number of webcast viewings – both live and archived – across a range of meetings, we know that the webcasting service is very much of interest to the public, and its success is integral to continued transparency, public engagement and local democracy.
“We also know that the pilot, which allowed 10 hours of webcasting time for meetings of Scrutiny Committees, helped to open Scrutiny meetings to the public and this will also be discussed.
“I look forward to the discussion and await what members have to say with interest.”
The Democratic Services Committee will meet at the Guildhall from 2pm on Thursday, March 9.