NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2016.
Webcasting of Flintshire County Council meetings is set to finally start from next week.
The move comes just two years after the council received a £40,000 grant from the Welsh Government to enable ‘investigation work’ into the use of webcasting for remote attendance and the broadcasting of meetings.
From Tuesday 16 February 2016, anybody with an internet connection and relevant device, phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer will be able to watch elected members debating issues such as school closures, library closures (may have missed these one’s however!) planning and cabinet meetings live from the council chambers in County Hall Mold.
The use of live webcasting isn’t a new phenomenon for councils across the UK, Cheshire West and Chester council have been using the Public – i system for some time, the same cutting edge system will be employed by Flintshire CC
Broadcasting meetings has proven to offer a greater level of transparency in council proceedings and has the potential to allow councillors to attend ‘remotely’ which in turn would see councillor attendance rates increase.
Whilst council meetings are open to the general public to attend, filming has not usually been allowed- unlike in England where filming has been actively encouraged by Government.
Unless a council meeting agenda is particularly contentious, such as the closure of a high school for example, not many people bother to attend other than few hardened meetings watchers and the odd local journalist practicing live tweeting skills begrudgingly after spending years learning to write shorthand.
The introduction of this new technology will mean people can either watch meetings as they happen, or catch-up later, at a time and place convenient to them.
Cllr. Aaron Shotton, Leader of the Council said,
“Webcasting of Council meetings has been introduced successfully in many Councils across the United Kingdom and I am delighted that Flintshire now too has the opportunity to realise the benefits of webcasting in terms of public engagement and transparency.
“This technology offers another channel for the public to engage more closely with the democratic process and for the business of local government to be made more transparent. It will also mean the views, actions and positions taken by local Councillors can be more closely scrutinised by the public.”