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.

4 comments

  • Do worry about this being an opportunity for a certain type of Cllr to grandstand. There is a noticeable difference in the stridency of opinions which are expressed when the press are present, and an opportunity for a vote winning soundbite presents itself, and when councillors are in closed session and feel more able to be open and considered in their views, for instance.

    Also, there must be times when matters of a commercially sensitive nature are under discussion and time is needed for reflection and careful debate before the press report, or the public hear, preliminary opinions that after the initial debate might then have been re-considered, after being judged to be foolish. 24/7 scrutiny of everything presented to what are effectively the 123 Directors of Cornwall PLC in real time is bound to restrict and hinder proper analysis of commercial, financial and other options, leading to decisions which might not be as well informed as they might otherwise be. I believe in general web casting but not blanket coverage come what may. Do we really want government by Tweets?

  • Andrew Wallis

    Hi Chris,

    As with any free-for-all, there is always a risk this could be used for something else. However, some of the former district councils used to record meeting, so this is nothing new. And to be honest, hardly any public turn up to meetings anyway, or when they do, they have a vested interest in the agenda item like in planning.

  • jones.robert27@sky.com

    The law appears to refer to the general public filming etc if I read it correctly. Would it be possible please to direct me towards where it is stated Councillors themselves may tweet, etc during a meeting, not only at County level but at Town Councils as well. Thanks. Robert

  • Andrew Wallis

    Hi Robert,

    There isn’t any specific law on allowing councillors to vote, rather this is covered under the legislation of being allowed to tweet/use social media.

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