Tuesday’s Executive Board saw a pivotal moment in Council ‘openness and transparency’, with the meeting being ‘webcast’ for the first time.
However the meeting will not be broadcast to the public and will instead be archived and used for training purposes.
There one or two minor issues, largely surrounding the use of microphones (regular readers of our Twitter will know how much issues with the microphones bother us!). Council Leader Neil Rogers joked that it was nice to see some councillors in ties for a change, with some making perhaps more of an effort knowing they were being filmed.
In September 2013, councillors voted in favour of taking part in a 12 month trial of webcasting meetings.
Not all Council meetings will be broadcast, with the Board voting in favour of webcasting Planning meetings, Executive Board meetings and Full Council meetings. This of course could allow members of the public to watch the meetings as they happened from the comfort of their own homes.
Speaking at the Executive Board meeting last September, Cllr Malcolm King said: “We moved from Officers being pretty skeptical, to being fairly enthusiastic and in support after seeing the potential to use as a tool to communicate much better with the public.
“One of the key things is public don’t feel involved in the decision making process. One of the key objectives is to form a more meaningful relationship with decision making process. also staff don’t feel as though they are involved enough.”
There has been some confusion as to where to money to webcast the meetings has come from. However the Welsh Government have allocated £40,000 to each principal council in Wales, which amounts to 22 councils across Wales.
We have asked for clarification on whether or not it would be possible to share the webcast on other websites, such as Wrexham.com , personal blogs or Youtube for example. A Council spokesperson told us they would check to see if it would be possible.
The obvious perk to webcasting Council meetings is that it allows those who cannot usually attend the public meetings, to catch up on what was said. Hopefully it will also get more people involved in local democracy !