If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.
Ed – Updated 11:58 14/11/2014 to include additional information.
Well the above Youtube video of the Cabinet meeting of the 4th September 2014 (previously blocked by Youtube in Germany and unavailable for anyone to view for the last fortnight because of Sony) can now be viewed.
Sony Music Entertainment haven’t sued me, so the video has to go back. My arcane knowledge of the counter notification provision to a DMCA takedown notice in the American Digital Millenium Copyright Act paid off.
The issue was to do with the use of the music track “We bought a Zoo”  by Icelandic musician Jónsi.
It means the 15 minute restriction on videos, restrictions on live broadcasts is no lifted on the main Youtube channel I use. Also the account is returned to good standing.
However in future at a public meeting, even though I can justify fair use on the grounds of news reporting, to prevent the making of false allegations of copyright infringement and this happening again, I have decided not to film videos shown during public meetings (obviously there may be exceptions to this general rule).
With regards to the Lyndale School video, the fact that Jónsi is blind adds another interesting element to the Lyndale story.
It’s not however just Sony Music Entertainment that have tried to prevent footage of Wirral Council’s public meetings being shown. Wirral Council tried it at a call in earlier this year in February (about Lyndale).
Also at a recent meeting of the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee on the 28th October and the Youth Parliament on 11th November Wirral Council were adamant that for child protection reasons these public meetings couldn’t be filmed.
This was because at the meeting on the 28th there was a 16-year-old present and at the meeting on the 11th November, there were 11-18 year olds present in addition to councillors.
Strangely enough on that very topic the Youth Parliament, the BBC are filming (and showing on BBC Parliament today) from 11.10am-12.40pm and 1.40pm onwards the Youth Parliament debating in the House of Commons.
In fact here is a quote from one UK Youth Parliament member Ciara Brodie from Liverpool (who will be leading a debate):
“Friday 14th November will be an incredible day, not only for those sitting in the chamber, but for young people across the country. This is the day when hundreds of Members of Youth Parliament will take to the green benches of the House of Commons and debate on the issues that are most important to us. These five issues have been decided by a nationwide ballot taken part in by over 865,000 11-18 year olds. This day will be symbolic, because young people often feel excluded from politics, and like their voices are neither acknowledged nor represented in Parliament. This sitting is an incredible opportunity to engage young people from across the UK in political debate, just months before a General Election. With educational reform a hot topic and 16 and 17 year olds voting in the Scottish Referendum, there has never been a more important time to listen to young people. It is one thing to be given a voice but hopefully, as a result of this debate, young people will also be listened to. This is our chance to make our mark in the heart of Westminster.”
The debates will all be filmed. BBC Parliament will be broadcasting the debates live with a five minute time delay.
The debates will also be streamed “live” with a time delay directly to the newsrooms of the BBC, Sky, etc – so that broadcasters may use the footage that day if they want to.
It is very important that during the debates MYPs don’t say anything that is factually incorrect (i.e. slanderous), don’t swear and are careful not to damage the reputation of Parliament (e.g. call MPs liars!). We will be taking legal advice on anything that could be considered slanderous and any such statements will have to be removed.
The microphones and cameras will be on in the Chamber at all times.”
Coverage of the morning session will be broadcast on the BBC Parliament channel today (14th November 2014) starting at 8.20pm.
Coverage of the afternoon session will be broadcast on the BBC Parliament channel today (14th November 2014) starting at 9.50pm.
Coverage of the morning session will be available on BBC Iplayer at this link (1h30m).
Coverage of the afternoon session will be available on BBC Iplayer at this link (2h10m) .
Maybe Wirral Council’s child protection policy will prevent its UK Youth Parliament members (aged between 11-18) actually being involved at all in London at the House of Commons today (which if it does that’s a shame). Mind you under their “child protection policy” the public & press have been told in the past aren’t even allowed to know even the names of who from Wirral represents the views of young people on the Youth Parliament!
In Wirral of course, with full approval from Wirral Council’s Cabinet, children’s voices are not to be heard outside of meeting rooms at public meetings on political issues. The reason given is because “they’re children” and of course Wirral isn’t known to as the “insular peninsula” for no reason. It’s however really part of a wider cultural attitude against openness and transparency and of trying to control the press.
Wirral will probably also say its for safeguarding reasons, however I would say the effect of broadcasting on national TV, online and through other broadcasters is likely to reach a much wider audience than probably the fifty or sixty views there would have been of the Youth Parliament meeting at Wirral Council.
What have Wirral Council actually got to hide when it comes to teenagers? Do they just so ever conveniently forget at time they get £millions of public money to spend on their education?
If you click on any of these buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people. Thanks:
There was one A4 page handed out to those present at the meeting which was about the Youth Voice Conference 2014. Obviously it would have been interesting to have on video politicians, officers and a young person’s response to these issues raised at the Youth Voice Conference, but considering the politically sensitive nature of some of these issues one can fully understand why there was an effort before the meeting began not to have it filmed, audio taped or photographed.
As one section of it mentions the media, I had better declare an interest in this as a member of the media. As well as politics I also write about video games, so I’d better declare that too. Below is the text of the 1 A4 page handout circulated to the committee, councillors, officers and others present at the public meeting.
Copies of what is below were handed out during the meeting itself by Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services), as the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee, unlike many other public meetings of politicians at Wirral Council doesn’t have Wirral Council officers from Legal and Member Services assigned to it to deal with such matters. It’s “served” by officers from Wirral Council’s Children and Young People’s Department (or whatever it’s called these days) instead who take a different view on some matters to that of Legal and Member Services.
The day democracy and freedom of the press died at Wirral Council: 28th October 2014
The day democracy and freedom of the press died at Wirral Council: 28th October 2014
CORRECTION 1/11/2014: The version of this article published on 29th October 2014 contained an error. Although Cllr Chris Carubia was on the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee this article stated he was not. It has since been corrected.
I apologise to Cllr Chris Carubia for this error. It is my fault entirely. Wirral Council’s website shows him as not being on the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee (see screenshots below) although it does show the committee appointments for the other seven councillors on this eight person committee. I didn’t double check this incorrect information on Wirral Council’s website against the list of committee appointments made at the Annual General Meeting (Part 2) in June 2014. Hopefully this explains how the error was made and I apologise.
However I cannot blame others for my mistake and have to accept responsibility. I personally apologise both to Cllr Chris Carubia and to readers for any confusion caused.
Yesterday I attended a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee and the meeting started twenty minutes late for reasons I shall go into below.
Here is a list of the councillors on this committee:
Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Labour) who refers to himself as Chair
Cllr Chris Meaden (Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Labour)
Cllr Walter Smith (Labour councillor who wasn’t present last night)
Cllr Paul Hayes (Conservative councillor who wasn’t present last night)
Cllr Wendy Clements (Conservative councillor who wasn’t present last night)
Cllr Cherry Povall, JP (Conservative councillor who wasn’t present last night)
Cllr Mrs Pat Williams (Liberal Democrat councillor)
Cllr Chris Carubia (Liberal Democrat councillor)
So out of that list of seven councillors, only Cllr Tony Smith, Cllr Chris Meaden, Cllr Mrs Pat Williams and Cllr Chris Carubia (four councillors) were actually present.
Also there, but not part of the committee that met that evening was Cllr Phil Gilchrist. Cllr Phil Gilchrist is a deputy for this committee, however the two Liberal Democrat councillors were both present so he was not deputising. However as he is Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, he used his ex-officio powers to speak at the meeting.
Prior to the meeting starting, the papers for the meeting which you can view on Wirral Council’s website hadn’t been published on Wirral Council’s website a week before the meeting as required by law but merely hours before the meeting was held.
I asked for a copy of the agenda and reports at the meeting itself (as is my legal right to do so). I was very reluctantly given a copy of the agenda by an officer who had a big bunch of copies of the agenda but had to check he had permission to give one to me.
As the video was about twelve minutes long (and I planned to film discussion of it once it was over), this left the other seven agenda items plus the rest of that one.
However Lindsay Davidson (whose job description is “Senior Locality Manager – Youth Support”) and is an employee of Wirral Council was before the meeting not happy with the prospect of me filming this public meeting of a local Council (that she worked at) at all.
Another thing to bear in mind, is that whereas the Legal and Member Services section of Wirral Council send along a trained solicitor and someone to take minutes at all other meetings, this did not happen that evening.
I pointed out that usually committees have a solicitor and a committee services officer present just to be rebutted by Lindsay Davidson with “We service our own committee.”
She carried on saying, “As far as I’m concerned it’s a safeguarding issue because we haven’t got parental consent.”
No, she wasn’t referring to councillors having to write to their parents and gain their written permission of their parents before they attend and get filmed at a public meeting. Nor was she apparently referring to Council officers (of which there were five including herself and the Head of Service (Head of Targeted Services) Deborah Gornik.
She was referring to one young person present at the public meeting called Daniel (who she told me at this point was sixteen years old but in later conversation (in front of councillors and Surjit Tour) refused to divulge what age Daniel was). Interestingly Daniel hasn’t been formally appointed by Council to this committee and isn’t (despite what Council officers may state) part of the committee.
This was my response to her “As far as I’m concerned it’s a legal issue because the regulations changed in August” and before I could even finish that sentence Lindsay started talking over me.
She said that Daniel’s parents “don’t know”. So I talked with Surjit Tour over the phone in reception, who agreed with me that it was a committee of Wirral Council that met in public.
However as far as Surjit Tour was concerned, he wanted to dissuade me from filming the meeting at all. So what does the law actually state on the issue now?
“(7A) While a meeting of a principal council in England is open to the public, any person attending is to be permitted to report on the meeting.
(7C) A person attending a meeting of a principal council in England for the purpose of reporting on the meeting must, so far as practicable, be afforded reasonable facilities for doing so.
(7E) Any person who attends a meeting of a principal council in England for the purpose of reporting on the meeting may use any communication method, including the internet, to publish, post or otherwise share the results of the person’s reporting activities.
“(9) In this section “reporting” means—
(a) filming, photographing or making an audio recording of proceedings at a meeting,
(b) using any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later, or
(c) reporting or providing commentary on proceedings at a meeting, orally or in writing, so that the report or commentary is available as the meeting takes place or later to persons not present.”
There are similar modifications also made by Regulation 3 to the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 which also apply.
So that’s the legal position, I can film the public meeting of the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee, whether or not a sixteen year old happens to be there without his parents.
However what happened yesterday evening is bizarre.
The meeting did not start on time and a twenty minute conversation happened between Lindsay Davidson, Cllr Chris Meaden, Cllr Tony Smith, Surjit Tour, I think Deborah Gornik and myself in the corridor outside Committee Room 1.
I was basically told that by Surjit Tour that if I exercised my right (enshrined in law) to film the meeting, Surjit Tour would advise the Chair (Cllr Tony Smith) to adjourn the meeting and therefore the meeting would not take place that evening.
This is in fact why the meeting started twenty minutes late. I offered the following compromises to Wirral Council:
a) that I would only film the side of the room that the 16-year-old was not actually sitting in: REFUSED
b) that I would only audio record the public meeting: REFUSED
c) that I wouldn’t film the video shown during the meeting: REFUSED
You can tell how any other “reasonable compromises” were dealt with too.
Wirral Council were obviously not going to budge from their stubborn position until I backed down. Personally I feel sorry for employees and opposition councillors in such an organisation as the way it was dealt with was wholly unreasonable.
This is also probably why there have been strikes recently by the unions, because both Wirral Council’s management and politicians behave unreasonably.
Both Surjit Tour and I knew what the legal position was and that I could film.
Officers (including Lindsay Davidson who was “servicing the committee”) didn’t know the legal position, neither did councillors and were looking to Surjit Tour to not only offer them legal advice but to negotiate on their behalf my agreement not to film the meeting. Neither Surjit Tour or I had the text of the legislation to show them, although it takes minutes to look up these matters as Wirral Council does have both wired and wireless internet access (including in the Committee Room 1 that the meeting was being held in).
He, Surjit Tour as Head of Legal and Member Services could only advise councillors to adjourn the meeting if I tried to film it and by then the officers had got the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services/Chair involved Cllr Tony Smith (who is obviously rather cheesed off already at the moment over my reporting on Lyndale School matters). I realise officers have had safeguarding drummed into them (perhaps this is the legacy of Martin Morton), to the extent that they repeat it as a mantra when people tell them things they don’t want to hear.
However from a practical perspective, a 16-year-old in the UK at the moment is old enough to:
vote in the recent Scottish independence referendum (if he or she lived in Scotland)
join the Armed Forces
leave compulsory education
get arrested & probably other matters I haven’t thought of.
However according to Wirral Council, even at 16 years old you are not old enough to attend a public meeting without getting a written note from your parents first, just in case you might get filmed or recorded on tape.
In fact according to Wirral Council officers you are still treated as a child until you are eighteen.
In some ways even though I am well over eighteen and in my mid 30s some Wirral Council officers (and politicians) still treat me as if I was a child. After all, the reaction last night to me trying to film the meeting was the way you’d deal with a two or three-year old having a temper tantrum.
Although not explicitly stated by anyone, reading between the lines and based on how the discussions went, it came across as “Go outside John, we’ll tell you how you should behave, don’t you realise you shouldn’t be filming this meeting and how dare you try to do so and annoy us?”
In other words the petulant attitude I’ve come to expect from councillors and officers at Wirral Council.
So, although it sets a bad precedent, I decided yesterday evening after a twenty-minute stalemate on this issue pragmatically not to film the meeting because:
So this leaves Wirral Council in the position now where the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP refers to such decisions on filming by local councils in a newspaper article as behaving in the past like “Putin’s Russia” and is exactly the sort of dispute the regulations are there to avoid.
Wirral Council’s way of skirting around the regulations applying is to pressure me into voluntarily agreeing not to film & or audio record a meeting before it takes place. If I say no and take a militant attitude they will make sure the meeting doesn’t actually happen.
So that is Wirral Council’s position, I am allowed to film public meetings. However if I try to do so, the public meeting won’t actually happen. It’s a bit like Schrödinger’s cat really and exactly a fortnight after this farce last night I’m sure I’ll be going over this same ground again over the Youth Parliament meeting where there will be more than one young person present.
Below are my uncorrected notes of the meeting yesterday and in a PS I will point out that I tape record meetings because I have a writing disability because of breaking my wrist in two places in 2012. This means I can no longer write shorthand so I use the audio tape recordings for the purposes of quotes.
However equality issues, disability issues and safeguarding concerns regarding myself are not considered by Wirral Council as hypothetical views of a 16 year olds parents trump the “reasonable adjustments” Wirral Council are required to take (it’s a legal duty) during meetings.
For an example of a reasonable adjustment made during the meeting, Cllr Phil Gilchrist (with hearing problems) asked for the tea/coffee machine to be turned off as no microphones were used (although three were put out nobody sat near them).
However reasonable adjustments are always made at Wirral Council for disabilities of councillors, or its own staff but its legal duties to the disabled public and press are not even thought of and if raised not considered as they should.
Below are my notes of the meeting (I will point out that some of these service changes are currently out to public consultation at the moment):
Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee 28th October 2014
552 pm late start
Visual description of young person chairing meeting (Daniel) has black curly hair, wears glasses… approx 16 years old wearing .blue short sleeved shirt
Cllr Tony Smith (Chair) apologies discussion whether Mr Brace able will not do tonight resolved another
Welcome y… apologies
P Williams didnt get agenda until today cllrs missing oversight
lindsay problems server getting on to server … … reminder gpt agenda
P Giochrist attachemts council website couldnt open…
lindy resolved today wasnt resolved
daniel over to you
go round asking people’s names
Linndsay Davidson Senior locality manager Youth and Play service
Cllr tony smith
Cllr pat williams
Cllr phil gilchrist
Cllr chros meaden
South and West Wirral…
creative youth development
P Gilchrist d…matters arising from minutes hand over Lindsay…
Note Left side: 4 coucillors (CM (Lab), PW (LD), PG (LD) and CC (LD)), 2 officers
Right: Cllr Tony Smith, officers (Lindsay Davidson and two others) and Daniel (young person)
Lindsay highlight a few things senior locality manager’s report 1.1 inform latest goals project underway … following on from success under 1.2.1 lads project started in September proving to be very successful aged young men… designed to address a number issues harmful exploitative relationships… towards end program residential Oaklands outdoor education centre first project young men did have concerns drop out rate male staff working with young men retention rate high midway meeting had to get Birkenhead Youth Hub
cllr tony smith how identified
officers agencies targetted services… so agencies able identify needs young person get consent also used part working young people…
lindsay challenging young men program … its a testament program…
officer midway thing big impact groups teenage males mix in one spot … all mixed all deliberately mixed groups… a project in itself…
p gilchrist public health funded Wirral South Constituency Committee improve funding or top up… public health mentioned … has been funding South Wirral additional residential young men… under item 2 Wallasey District Wallasey Youth Hub… 12 week…
Lindsay heavily involved partnership work police don’t know aware Flaybrick Cemetery traves outreach involved not only working with young people … perpetrators… trying divert further criminal damage also working other young people locality concerned peers done this wanted to show other young people were like that workong young people rangers cemetery cleanup positive project different aspects … South Wirral Bebington Youth Hub redesigned painted music room young women crime prevention panel… under 5 West Wirral… West Wirral Youth Hub Thursdays young people additional needs disabilities accessing Youth Hub… … good practice journals weighting oist families cross agency steering group further funding… demands that particular program item 7 7. 1 housing service new Wirral based .. … yp family… ok.. and again under 7.1 aaare response young people took part healthy eating project positive outcomes chefs Barrow in Furness healthy eating techniques homeless have been… .. ok number 8 partivipation and engagement fee days ago Youth Voice Conference make aware under 8.2 have reported framework young people brought paper previous merting champion event prior Youth Parliament 11/11 what doing champion event sign up become yp champion some activities tea young people and councillors Youth Parliament into Chamber for session… busy collecting motions majority theme conference emotional health and wellbeing number 10 beechwood supporting with homework projects creating number artifacts enable young people doing things like making models atoms sex education… huge models of sperms eggs and ovaries… extremely successful giving to curriculum Daniel end report
Daniel questions… ?
P Gilchrist detail Fender health and safety closure building
Mark reason closed … throw …at one windows youth club on first floor thick windows stone kind of shattered… unfortuantely quite a long time to get repaired quite blessing in disguise dealing with a lot antisocial behaviour on Woodchurch coming in to building youth workers stop doing this stop doing r ship put on hold a bit take stock go out onto streets build better relationships young people Moira liasing community looking at how involve community volunteers… running youth project … all young people… mischief night along police fire service operation banger have some music playing food fire service providing sports mobile football cage looking into having … finalising the health and safety but really positive … community more and more involved people weren’t reporting antisocial behaviour positive step community get involved yp Woodchurch
T Smith add to what Mark said engagement adults in new approach and that talking about 10-20 live on estate let someone elee do it got good leaders come forward … things move rapidly see a good future for it… hopefully lookimg at very carefully Woodchirch High … antisocial behaviour… headteacher myself working .. encouarging done a lot work
Daniel all questions
P Willaims on 6.4 kids timd ..
officer supported London project families mental health shared group session