A little bit of council history has quietly been made in Flintshire this week.
For the first time in Flintshire county council’s history, two committee meetings have been recorded and posted onto the council website for public viewing.
The two webcasts are for a remote attendance and webcasting trial being carried out by the council as part of the conditions set out in a £40,000 grant handed to the county hall from the Welsh Government.
The council have opted a system called ‘connect social’ developed by Public – i the market leaders in public sector webcasting technology.
Talking about their platform ‘Public i’ say;
‘Connect Social is the next generation webcasting platform which transforms the relationships that matter to you. Your audiences have moved beyond passively receiving broadcast messages – they are actively engaged online and are a valuable resource for you. Building a closer and more informed relationship with your audiences will gradually build trust and develop co-productive communities. Connect Social places your webcasts within relevant online conversations while allowing you to manage access, track interactions, and harness the power of networked communication.’
One of the major benefits being explored by the council is attendance by video link, some councillors find the balance between working full time and being a councillor a challenge, this is discussed here by Cllr Veronica Gay and Cllr Tim Newhouse who offer the positive ‘take’ on the trial, raising the valid point that meetings by video links are fairly standard ways of working in today’s business world, as you can image there is a fair amount of resistance, but then there was when the first automobile was unveiled.
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 with great success for some time and it has proven to offer a greater level of transparency in council proceedings and democratic process.
Each Welsh local council has been handed a £40,000 grant by the Welsh Government to enable them to investigate the use of remote attendance and webcasting of meetings.
Council’s have until 31st March 2014 to produce a written report on the meetings at which there had been recording and remote attendance.
Failure by councils to meet the March deadline will lead to them having to pay the £40,000 grant back to the Welsh Government.
Link to the webcasting section of the website is here
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