Posted by: John Brace | 14th June 2019

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority changes constitution and policy on filming public meetings after petition started in 2014

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority changes constitution and policy on filming public meetings after petition started in 2014

                                                    

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Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (13th June 2019) Agenda Item 3 – Petition

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority 13th June 2019 R to L Cllr Leslie Byrom (Chair), Phil Garrigan (Chief Executive)

Yesterday afternoon (13th June 2019) I submitted and spoke to this petition started in 2014 to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (MFRA) about its constitution and more specifically filming public meetings.

In summary the petition asked for the objection bit to be dropped at the start of public meetings and for a review of the policy and constitution in this area.

The paper version of this petition had been on the agenda of the MFRA meeting on the 16th December 2014, but the time of that meeting was changed and brought forward from 1.00 pm to 11.00 am, due to a visit by royalty that afternoon (which meant I was unable to attend and speak to that paper petition as I wasn’t informed of the changed time of the meeting).

The review of policy called for in the petition has happened now three times (once in December 2014, once in October 2018 and now again in June 2019).

Although the current version has improvements, such as being allowed in the building half an hour before it starts, versus the previous twenty minutes (which didn’t really give enough to sign the visitor book, be issued with visitor passes, put the visitor passes on, dry off my glasses, pick up a copy of the agenda and reports, wait for escort to room, go through around half a dozen doors, cross the room to the order side, possibly rearrange seats, unpack and set up a tripod, mount the camera to the tripod, open the lens, start the camera, zoom into where I’m going to start recording etc etc).

There are still problems with the existing constitution and policy though, but at least now the policy and constitution don’t contradict each other.

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Responses

  1. Members of public meetings have only the publicity of their foolishness to fear.

    • Well take yesterday as an example (shown in that video as part of the article).

      The Chair says the meeting’s started now you can start recording (fair enough).

      Then he does agenda item 1.

      Then at the end of item 1, he says to the meeting you can start recording again! But it’s already started and includes agenda item 1 (which is part of the agenda)!

      If I was paying attention to him, I’d be very confused as to when the meeting started!!!

      But then I suppose as Chair he’d be the last person to know when the meeting starts. 😛

      And this is partly why (unfortunately) the filming policy needs to make it clear to chairs of Fire Authorities (who in the case above is paid £16,140 a year to be Chair) when the meeting actually starts… as apparently the common sense rule of when agenda item 1 starts is not clear enough!

  2. Don’t you just love this country?

    • I’d love this country more if local government paid better adherence to the laws rather than make it up as they went along and giving themselves powers they never had in the first place!

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