The council officers seem to recommending that councillors vote not to allow filming of council meetings at tonight’s council meeting.
In June of this year The Department for Communities and Local Government produced a guide about council meetings http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s32778/Annex%201%20-%20DCLG%20-%20Your%20Councils%20Cabinet%20-%20Going%20to.pdf
“Can I film the meeting?
Council meetings are public meetings. Elected representatives and council officers acting
in the public sphere should expect to be held to account for their comments and votes in
such meetings. The rules require councils to provide reasonable facilities for any member
of the public to report on meetings. Councils should thus allow the filming of councillors
and officers at meetings that are open to the public.
The Data Protection Act does not prohibit such overt filming of public meetings. Councils
may reasonably ask for the filming to be undertaken in such a way that it is not disruptive
or distracting to the good order and conduct of the meeting. As a courtesy, attendees
should be informed at the start of the meeting that it is being filmed; we recommend that
those wanting to film liaise with council staff before the start of the meeting.
The council should consider adopting a policy on the filming of members of the public
speaking at a meeting, such as allowing those who actively object to being filmed not to be
filmed, without undermining the broader transparency of the meeting.”
But the senior officers advice for tonight's meeting is:
"4.2.1 Another option that could be considered is an amended version of the existing rules on the filming of meetings. Firstly for the purposes of clarity, what the Council means by an ‘accredited media organisation’ could be expressly defined and added to the Constitution. Secondly, consideration could be given to reserving the decision on whether to permit the filming of a meeting by an accredited media organisation to the meeting as a whole instead of the Chairman.
4.2.2 It is suggested that the definition of an accredited media organisation that is included within the Council’s Constitution is: “a media organisation or individual that holds a National Press Card and is registered with the Press Complaints Commission (or its successor) or a similar regulated body with a code of conduct and associated complaints process through which the Council could take recourse”.
4.2.3 This definition retains the Council’s right to take recourse with a journalist or body if it thinks that it has been misrepresented in order to protect the Council’s interests.
4.2.4 Currently the decision as to whether to allow filming by an accredited media organisation rests with the chair of the meeting in question. In practice, some chairs have made the decision whether or not to permit filming without reference to their committee members whereas others have adopted a more inclusive approach and sought the views of the committee, either in advance of the meeting or at the beginning of the meeting itself. Although one possibility would be to recommend that the decision is taken by the meeting as a whole as this would allow for a more representative decision, one of the advantages of the decision remaining with the chair is that accredited media organisations can seek permission in advance via the corporate communications team and this gives the chair time consider his or her decision and seek the advice of officers if required. It is suggested (in Annex 2) that requests to the chair need to be submitted at least five working days prior to the relevant meeting. Where permission to film has been granted, the members of the committee will be informed of that decision prior to the meeting taking place.
4.2.5 It is important to note that this approach would still retain an element of Option one in that the recording or filming of meetings of the regulatory committees (Licensing, Planning, Governance & Audit and Standards) would still remain prohibited.
4.2.6 On balance therefore, if this option is preferred it is recommended that the revised definition of accredited media organisations set out in paragraph 4.2.2 above is adopted but that the decision whether or not to permit filming remains with the chair of the meeting."
In amongst all the bumph the council has published about this at http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=141&MId=3051&Ver=4 see 17a, the council is spending money on bandwidth problems associated with hosting the films they make of the meetings.
I have tried emailing various councillors about this one, but have so far only had reply from Simon Moores: “I'm in favour of allowing filming with the chair's approval ie you make a request in advance”
I guess this rather epitomises the problem of modern government, I don’t have much time to monitor what the council are up to, so I didn’t notice this one until yesterday, which doesn’t leave much time to get thing sorted. Which I am trying to do with my mobile internet and the only councillor who I know of that will respond immediately to an email is Simon.
I also emailed Clive, thus:
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, 3 October 2013, 9:26
Sent: Thursday, 3 October 2013, 9:26
Hi Clive, what is the Labour group’s position on the filming of council meetings? I heard it was being decided today, until yesterday.
There doesn’t seem to be any reason that the council can’t just live stream the meetings to youtube, now that youtube have removed the length and size restrictions, so I can’t understand all the stuff about bandwidth and cost.
The government paper seems to be quite clear that anyone should be able to film public council meetings and yet out officers seem to recommending that the public shouldn’t be able to film public meetings.
Best regards Michael
here is his reply
"Being discussed this evening at full council."