All Council’s will have to allow filming, tweeting and recording at their meetings

On the 6th August, there will be a fundamental way a Council deals with those who wish to film, tweeting and record in all meetings that are open to the public. Until now, only primary authorities like Cornwall Council had to allow – blog HERE – the use of social media and filming at meetings. Cornwall Council has already embraced this – as blogged HERE – and if it suits you, you can film / record any of our public meetings. Cornwall Council also webcasts its Full Council, Cabinet and Strategic Planning meetings.

From the 6th August, the amendment of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 will come into force where all ‘relevant local government bodies’ which includes town and parish council will have to allow filming, the use of social media and recording in all their meetings. The legislation includes any communication method, including the internet, to publish, post or otherwise share the results of the person’s reporting activities. The reporting  and dissemination may take place at the time of the meeting or occur after the meeting. 

The reason for the change is because of the Sec of State, Eric Pickles has the power under the:

Section 40 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 gives the Secretary of State power, by regulations, to make provision for allowing persons to film, photograph or make sound recordings of proceedings of meetings of certain local government bodies; for allowing those not present at meetings to see and hear the proceedings; and for allowing reporting and commentating on the proceedings

I really welcome this and believe Mr Pickles has made the right decision in this matter. It is a shame filming, recording and social media had to be made secondary legislation because council’s would not allow this. There have been many cases of people being ejected and even arrested because they wanted to record a meeting. This should never have happen in the first place, but now thankfully from the 6th August this will not happen again.

Further detail and the actual legal wording can be found HERE and HERE

So here’s a pat on-the-back for Mr Pickles for bring in this sensible and long-overdue change in the Law.


Unrestricted Filming at Cornwall Council Meetings

Yesterday, the entire membership of Cornwall Council approved unrestrictive filming – including blogging and tweeting – of council meetings which are open to the public.

Previously, the council did allow filming, but required 48 hours notice. Now there is no requirement for any notice. There is still one rule to filming. That is you must not cause disturbance to the meeting while filming. I think this is only right and I am sure people will respect this rule.

I very much welcome this step forward to make our meetings as open as possible. The myth is Cornwall Council is a closed shop. It is not. In fact it is one of the most open and transparent councils. As we webcast many of our primary meetings; and now allow filming, blogging and tweeting without restriction.

Cornwall Council should be congratulated for this forward thinking approach.

Recording and filming at Council meetings without prior permission.

Today, the Constitution and Governance Committee discussed and approved the recording, filming and broadcasting of all Council, Cabinet and Committee meetings to be permitted at all public council meetings without prior permission. However before everyone gets their clapper-boards ready, the Full Council has to approve these recommendations.

I will point out the  council already has a filming policy, which does allow filming, but this requires 48 hours notice and permission to film. The change is because the Government has issued more guidance on filming at council meetings.  

I believe this is another huge step in the right direction of making Cornwall Council more open and transparent in carrying out our business. This will follow on from the council allowing webcast, tweeting and blogging in its meetings. Of course there are risks with allowing a free-for-all, but I think the pros outweigh any cons of allowing recording and filming. Of course anyone who wishes to record or film must carry out that action without disrupting the meeting.