Request to Cllr Pat Frost re recording committee meetings

Sent: 28 June 2013 1:02 PM
To: ‘Pat Frost’
Cc: ‘David Hodge’; ‘eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: Recording Meetings

Dear Cllr Frost

I have read with interest the June 2013 DCLG guidelines on recording executive decisions such as those made by the Waverley Local Area Committee. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/207528/Your_councils_cabinet_-_going_to_its_meetings_seeing_how_it_works.pdf

I have noted with interest an item on page 6 as follows:

Can I film the meeting?

Council meetings are public meetings. Elected representatives and council officers acting in the public sphere should expect to be held to account for their comments and votes in such meetings. The rules require councils to provide reasonable facilities for any member of the public to report on meetings. Councils should thus allow the filming of councillors and officers at meetings that are open to the public. The Data Protection Act does not prohibit such overt filming of public meetings. Councils may reasonably ask for the filming to be undertaken in such a way that it is not disruptive or distracting to the good order and conduct of the meeting. As a courtesy, attendees should be informed at the start of the meeting that it is being filmed; we recommend that those wanting to film liaise with council staff before the start of the meeting. The council should consider adopting a policy on the filming of members of the public speaking at a meeting, such as allowing those who actively object to being filmed not to be filmed, without undermining the broader transparency of the meeting.

Will I be able to tweet or blog council meetings?

Similarly under the new rules there can be social media reporting of meetings. Thus bloggers, tweeters, facebook and YouTube users, and individuals with their own website, should be able to report meetings. You should ask your council for details of the facilities they are providing for citizen journalists.

I kindly ask therefore:

What facilities are you providing for citizen journalists?

Will the Waverley Local Area Committee operate within the DCLG guidelines and make all its meetings public?

Will the Waverley Local Area Committee amend its guidance on use of IT and social media and on the recording of meetings such that it is in line with DCLG guidelines?

I am grateful for your response to my three questions.