Councillors agree to new filming policy for public meetings of Wirral Council
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I’ll declare an interest at the outset as someone who regularly films public meetings of Wirral Council and also as I spoke at this meeting.
Yesterday afternoon, councillors on Wirral Council’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee (which you can watch above) discussed changing their policy on filming public meetings.
Before the change to the policy was agreed, I addressed the Committee for just over four minutes with my concerns about the changes. A written response to my email to the Committee was also circulated to myself and those on the Committee.
The major change to filming public meetings of local government happened in August 2014, when regulations 3, 4 and 5 of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 came into force.
The proposed Protocol for Webcasting, Filming and Recording of Council Meetings was agreed by councillors, although Patrick Sebastian (a Wirral Council employee) suggested that all references in the recommended policy to “public meetings” be replaced with “meetings held in public”. It is unclear whether councillors agreed to this proposals including his amendment to wording or not.
I suggested that the second sentence of paragraph 15 was deleted about filming (or audio recording) by anyone only happening from a “designated area” partly as it was left unclear to me who would designate the designated area.
As mentioned during what I said during the meeting, as Council delegated policy making in this area to the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee, as far as I can tell this new policy has immediate effect.
The first public meeting Wirral Council plan to film and publish live as a webcast, will be the public meeting of Council to be held on the evening of Monday 14th May 2018 when the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be chosen for the 2018-19 municipal year.
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