Lights, Cameras and Action

Cornwall Council is often criticised for falling to do something, or not meeting people’s expectations. I have often criticised the authority for this, but also I have given praise where it is due. At Tuesday’s council meeting there was an item on the agenda which Cornwall Council should be congratulated on.

This was on allowing media organisations to film and record (subject to a few rules) all council meetings. This is a huge step in the right direction in make the council more open to the public it serves. It all started awhile ago when I put in a motion to allow the webcasting to film the main council meeting. Without the support of Jeremy Rowe, Andrew Long and others, this motion would never have been passed. Webcasting now includes Cabinet, Strategic Planning and other important council meetings.

Now from the passing of the recommendations at Tuesday’s meeting, all future meetings can now filmed and recorded. This is good, because the cost of recording the meetings will be met by these media (BBC, ITV etc) organisations, and not the council. More importantly, it makes all meetings now more open and accountable to the public. Then again, I don’t think any media organisation will be there to film all meetings, or the whole meeting either.

However, it did not meet universal approval. There are many Councillors who think that recording any meeting is not constructive. I am not sure of why they would think this, but I have a few ideas.

In allowing media organisation to film and record meetings, Cornwall Council is taking the lead. Many other local authorities allow webcasting of their meetings, but only a handful of authorities in England and Wales allow the recording of them by outside media organisations.

So, well done Cornwall Council for taking the lead, and more importantly, setting the standard.