Council meetings could soon be filmed following cross-party approval
Cameras could soon be recording council meetings following a landmark vote by Slough Borough Council, according to the Slough Express. And Colnbrook Parish Council may not be too far behind with plans being considered for rolling TV information screens!
Slough Conservatives’ deputy leader, Cllr Wayne Strutton, put forward a motion at a full council meeting on Tuesday 26th calling for the authority to allow all public meetings to be recorded, filmed or photographed.
Currently meetings can only be filmed if permission is granted by either the Mayor or by the council’s democratic services department.
Cllr Strutton said:
This motion is about openness, transparentness and democracy. The residents of Slough deserve to know what’s being done.
He was backed by his Labour colleagues.
Council leader Rob Anderson said:
I do not have a problem with it per say, but I do think it is something that needs to be properly regulated and controlled.
A report will now be drawn up and discussed by the council’s constitutional working party to iron out the details of how the filming should take place.
This will include working out the cost of the scheme and discussing the options of who would be allowed to record the meetings.
Deputy leader of the council, Cllr James Swindlehurst, also backed the move, but mocked his Tory colleagues.
Speaking at the meeting at The Centre in Farnham Road, he said:
I am more than happy for them to see you at your very best. It will pretty much expose to the electorate what you lot are like here on a bad night.
… and the Parish Council may not be far behind!
Meanwhile, rolling TV information screens are part of a multi-dimensional strategy to improving community engagement by the Parish Council.
At the meeting of the Finance & Policy Committee on Tuesday 19th, chair Peter Hood outlined his thoughts on a number of approaches to keeping the public informed including another new website, a Facebook, and rolling TV information screens “at various locations”.
Councillors voted to pay £240 to send five councillors for training on the topic of social media. The 3.5 hour course, run by the Berkshire Associations of Local Councils (BALC) will educate councillors in how to develop a social media strategy, key trends, engagement with the community and “citizen journalism”.
The Parish – which was criticised for not engaging with the community in the Community Governance Review – also agreed to establish a working party comprising Councillors Angell, Hood, Jones, Laxman and Verma to investigate and report on future community engagement.