“Councillors shouldn’t be shy..”

14 Jun

Pickles urges council to open ‘digital doors’ to meetings is the title of an article by Jonathan Werran today (14 June 2013)  in LocalGov.co.uk .

In summary, it says that the public can now attend and film council cabinet meetings,and report them online using social media. Details are in a plain English guide just issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Click here for details:  http://files.themj.co.uk/Your%20councils%20cabinet.pdf http://files.themj.co.uk/Your%20councils%20cabinet.pdf

The aim is have more transparency into executive, committee and sub-committees, including permitted open filming of meetings attended by the public.

Naturally, the filming should be as unobtrusive as possible, and council staff should be given advance notification.

Citizen journalists – including bloggers, tweeters, Facebook and YouTube users –can use social media to report on meetings.

Council meetings can only be held in private in specially defined circumstances, and records of executive decisions must be made available.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles is quoted as saying: “I want to stand up for the rights of journalists and taxpayers to scrutinise and challenge decisions of the state. Data protection rules or health and safety should not be used to suppress reporting or a healthy dose of criticism” . According to the article, he also said,”Modern technology has created a new cadre of bloggers and hyper-local journalists, and councils should open their digital doors and not cling to analogue interpretations of council rules” , and “Councillors shouldn’t be shy about the public seeing the good work they do in championing local communities and local interest”.

One Response to ““Councillors shouldn’t be shy..””

  1. Tim June 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Rather interesting comparing what Pickles is requiring councils do and the draft protocol approved by EDDC on 22nd May (http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/draft_protocol_for_audio_recording_of_council_meetings_v3.pdf) . It’s going be a shock for some of them who still reside in the 19th century!
    EDDC have been sitting on it since first advised by Bob Neill Mp (DCLP) in February 2011- and they now have the cheek to start their protocol off with the usual meaningless statement about the “commitment to being open and transparent”…..Smile for the cameras!

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