Community

Law ensures ‘Right to Report’ of local council meetings

Some Council coverage on Hedon Blog

Some Council coverage on Hedon Blog

THE LAW has been changed to allow the press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies.

This ‘Right to Report’ offers some exciting possibilities to extend the Hedon Blog’s coverage of Hedon Town Council meetings.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles commenting on the change said:

“Half a century ago, Margaret Thatcher championed a new law to allow the press to make written reports of council meetings. We have updated her analogue law for a digital age.

“Local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council, and increasingly, people read their news via digital media.

“There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these new rights. Parliament has changed the law, to allow a robust and healthy local democracy. This will change the way people see local government, and allow them to view close up the good work that councillors do.”

The Hedon Blog will be looking to set up new systems and channels on Twitter and Facebook to enable ‘LIVE’ reporting (or nearly live)  from the public council meetings – by using these social media channels it will be possible to comment on decision-making as it takes place, including capturing the ‘colour and flavour’ of the actual debates and discussions.

Whilst the Hedon Blog tries to report on the decisions made by the council, the new systems will enable us to capture some of the comments of councillors – the indignation, the concerns and the humour – that lead to decisions being made. On bigger public issues, when residents are waiting to hear the results of the council’s deliberations, we will be able to bring these to residents via the Blog, Twitter and Facebook almost instantly.

“This is a positive move by the Government and will serve to increase and renew interest in the essential grassroots democracy exercised by our local councils.

Whilst some councillors will initially find this challenging – and it will be interesting to note any change in behaviour as a result of the increased public scrutiny – it will soon become the norm and part and parcel of being an accountable councillor.” – Ray Duffill, Editor

The Hedon Blog already reports from the council chamber with the support of the Hedon Town Council. We will now seek to work with the council on its moves to ensure the effective implementation of the new ‘Right to Report’.

See more on HU12 Online: ‘Right to Report’

3 replies »

  1. The following has been taken from the East Riding Council website at http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/council/committees/filming-and-social-media-use/ and lays out the council’s guidelines on the filming and use of social media during council meetings:

    Can I record, film, take photographs or use social media during meetings?

    Yes, during meetings that are open to the public, under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 you can:

    film
    audio record
    take photographs
    use social media

    The chairman has the right to terminate or suspend proceedings should such activities cause disruption during the meeting.

    Closed or private meetings (due to the discussion of confidential or exempt information) cannot be filmed or audio recorded, nor can members of the public be in attendance.

    Please note: should you wish to film, record or photograph open meetings we kindly request that you contact democratic services in advance so that suitable provision can be made.

    Who can be filmed?

    When filming, photographing or recording meetings, you should focus on recording councillors, officers and the individuals who are directly involved in the conduct of the meeting. Members of the public who do not wish to be filmed or photographed should have their wishes adhered to.

    What sort of facilities should councils provide?

    Councils are required to provide ‘reasonable facilities’ to facilitate the recording of meetings, such as a designated space to view and hear the meeting, seats and, where space allows, a desk.

    Can I object to being filmed/photographed during meetings?

    Members of the public who do not wish to be filmed during meetings should make this known to the committee manager or chairman and those filming, photographing or recording meetings should respect those wishes.

    Are there any meetings I can’t record, film or take photographs in?

    Where the meeting contains exempt information as set out in the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, the committee may agree to formally exclude the press and public from the meeting, thus terminating the recording/filming of the meeting.

    Like

Leave a Reply (FULL NAMES please, don't post anonymously)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s