The Success of Cornwall Council’s Webcast

On May 11th 2010, Cornwall Council entered the world of webcast by showing live a meeting of the full council. This as I have said before, was a massive step to open up the council for the world to see. It met with some resistance, but now this has all but disappeared.

Webcasting started with only the full council, but now it has been rolled out to Cabinet meetings and the Strategic Planning Committee. It has also been used on an ad-hoc bases for other important meetings. Sadly, webcasting is not in use for all planning committees, or the various scrutiny committees. To look back at my term of office, getting webcasting implemented is one of my top five achievements.

For the last two years, the viewing figures has grown to something I only could had wished for. For the period of:

  • April 2011 to March 2012: Live views – 14,359 and archive views – 19,193
  • April 2012 to Jan 2013: Live views – 18,400 and 119,768 and archive views

As you can see the increase in people watching live and more impressively, the archived meetings has increased massively . It just goes to show that people are interested in what the council does. A few meeting figures jump out, as on the 16th October 2012, 4,489 people watched live and 7,960 viewed the archive. This meeting was the No-confidence Motion. Another, a full council budget meeting attracted 1,905 live and 8,730 archived views.

However, there could be a sting in the tail. As post the budget decision and the large and avoidable cuts to the comms, strategy and localism budgets could see webcasting being stopped, or at a minimum reduced to only full council.

That would be a massive backward step in making the council more open. It would make it harder for the public to see their Councillor and council in action and more importantly vote at these meetings. It would also harm the council’s reputation for being one of the leading local authorities in making the council more accessible.

4 comments

  • riscornwall

    Yes Andrew, well said. Council webcasts play a significant part in getting information to the people and has been a huge step for local democracy. I didn’t know that you had played a significant role in setting it up – please fight hard to keep it.
    R OB

  • Andrew Wallis

    Hello RIS,

    It was cross-party support, but I did submit the original motion to get it all started. I am also proud of all the SM the council supports and encourages people to use in engaging with the council. It just to be funded properly.

  • Tyrone Homes

    Here, here! The webcast was a huge step forward for democracy and the figures prove that there is a demand for it. This is the time CC should be expanding web-casting into those areas you mentioned. To either freeze or cut the service would be a huge backwards step.

    After some of the more recent shenanigans I can imagine that certain Cllrs would be more than happy to see it go so we need to get our voice heard.

    Also i like to say that the move to allow electronic engagement for everyday council transactions and improvements to the website are all things we the voters should should recognise and CC should be truly proud of. I hope those services are able to provide the evidence that demonstrates the worth of those improvements so they can be defended from the unnecessary and wrong headed ‘back of a fag packet’ revised budget recently voted in.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  • mick martyn

    i agree Andrew, the webcast is excellent and gives us ‘outsiders’ an insight into the childrens play area.

    Maybe this is a radical thought but thinking of saving money – often when i watch cabinet etc there are several ‘backbenchers’ there who never say a word, presumably these are picking up their mileage, attendance allowances, free lunches etc for the pleasure – could there not be a rule that tells them to stay at home, save the tax payer money and watch it on the webcast instead??

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