New law to allow filming of council meetings

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles

First published in News
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A NEW law has been introduced which will allow journalists and members of the public to film, Tweet and blog from town hall meetings.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles has signed a parliamentary order allowing ‘digital reporting’ from all public meetings of local government bodies.

Following the passage of the legislation through both the House of Commons and Lords, the move opens council’s doors to the wider public.

The new law aims to end what is seen as active resistance by some councils to greater openness.

It has been known in the past for some councils to call for police to arrest people who tried to film meetings, although there is no suggestion this has happened in St Helens.

In a statement Pickle’s department it said that this new law builds on Margaret Thatcher’s Private members Bill in 1960 which allowed for the written reporting of council meetings by the press.

The new rules will apply to all public meetings, including town and parish councils and fire and rescue authorities.

Pickles said: “Half a century ago Margaret Thatcher championed a new law to allow the press to make written reports of council meetings. We have updated her analogue law for a digital age.

“Local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council and increasingly people read their news via digital media.

“The new right to report goes hand in hand with our work to stop unfair state competition from municipal newspapers together defending the independent free press.

“There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these new rights. Parliament has changed the law to allow a robust and healthy local democracy. This will change the way people see local government and allow them to view close up the good work that councillors do.”

Comments (15)

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11:53am Fri 8 Aug 14

jumperr says...

1960 says it all
1960 says it all jumperr
  • Score: 3

12:24pm Fri 8 Aug 14

kjd161 says...

Ho Ho. This will have a few of them running for cover.
Ho Ho. This will have a few of them running for cover. kjd161
  • Score: 6

12:55pm Fri 8 Aug 14

jumperr says...

They really don't deserve anything they shout from the rooftops and from cars to get elected then we never hear a dickie bird?
They really don't deserve anything they shout from the rooftops and from cars to get elected then we never hear a dickie bird? jumperr
  • Score: 7

3:55pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Hughwithaview says...

Oh my word this will be interesting - we will be able to see how many packets of Wagon Wheels and boxes of PG tips they get through at these meetings!
Oh my word this will be interesting - we will be able to see how many packets of Wagon Wheels and boxes of PG tips they get through at these meetings! Hughwithaview
  • Score: 3

9:19pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Attending Council meetings is far better than Mogadon. Be ready for a lot of excitement if you can keep awake. We have my Parish Council meetings Public Hall in Billinge 3rd. Monday of the month all are welcome. Only film my best side please.
Attending Council meetings is far better than Mogadon. Be ready for a lot of excitement if you can keep awake. We have my Parish Council meetings Public Hall in Billinge 3rd. Monday of the month all are welcome. Only film my best side please. Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 6

11:53pm Fri 8 Aug 14

anthonywilson says...

About time too. I'm not Mr Pickles greatest fan but this is a good move. For years St Helens Council has resisted the concept of filming council meetings whilst other councils have actively supported the idea for years. I asked a then St Helens Councillor about four years ago about whether he thought filming in meetings should be allowed and his response was akin to running away to the hills.
In a proper democratic society there should be no fear of scrutiny, no fear of accountability. Many Councils now film all their meetings and make them available via podcast etc. There's also no hiding if people don't turn up, turn up late and don't make a contribution. There's no official record keeping system in the same way Hansard works for the House of Commons so a person filming an accurate record of a council meeting is quite simply a good thing. The current minutes of Council meetings are simply a synopsis, not a verbatim record.
About time too. I'm not Mr Pickles greatest fan but this is a good move. For years St Helens Council has resisted the concept of filming council meetings whilst other councils have actively supported the idea for years. I asked a then St Helens Councillor about four years ago about whether he thought filming in meetings should be allowed and his response was akin to running away to the hills. In a proper democratic society there should be no fear of scrutiny, no fear of accountability. Many Councils now film all their meetings and make them available via podcast etc. There's also no hiding if people don't turn up, turn up late and don't make a contribution. There's no official record keeping system in the same way Hansard works for the House of Commons so a person filming an accurate record of a council meeting is quite simply a good thing. The current minutes of Council meetings are simply a synopsis, not a verbatim record. anthonywilson
  • Score: 11

10:16am Sat 9 Aug 14

jumperr says...

The problems about the meetings that I've been too the outcome has always seemed irrelevant if they addressed a problem at a meeting ,shorter meeting times,could be a better outcome,too much on a agenda no good
The problems about the meetings that I've been too the outcome has always seemed irrelevant if they addressed a problem at a meeting ,shorter meeting times,could be a better outcome,too much on a agenda no good jumperr
  • Score: 1

11:21am Sat 9 Aug 14

Bill Bradbury says...

jumperr wrote:
The problems about the meetings that I've been too the outcome has always seemed irrelevant if they addressed a problem at a meeting ,shorter meeting times,could be a better outcome,too much on a agenda no good
The problem jumper is that decisions have been taken elsewhere usually in committee. I am all for open Government which means scrutiny of me (and Cllrs.) and the decisions or contributions that I take. There is always the danger of people playing to the gallery to court popularity but electors should see that and make up their own mind.You may not agree with the outcome but at least you can see why I (they) was elected and probably why not next time!!
That is democracy.

Mind you Mr. Pickles has probably made a lot of decisions behind closed doors-called the Cabinet.
[quote][p][bold]jumperr[/bold] wrote: The problems about the meetings that I've been too the outcome has always seemed irrelevant if they addressed a problem at a meeting ,shorter meeting times,could be a better outcome,too much on a agenda no good[/p][/quote]The problem jumper is that decisions have been taken elsewhere usually in committee. I am all for open Government which means scrutiny of me (and Cllrs.) and the decisions or contributions that I take. There is always the danger of people playing to the gallery to court popularity but electors should see that and make up their own mind.You may not agree with the outcome but at least you can see why I (they) was elected and probably why not next time!! That is democracy. Mind you Mr. Pickles has probably made a lot of decisions behind closed doors-called the Cabinet. Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 7

3:38pm Sat 9 Aug 14

jumperr says...

Theirs the irrelevance Bill,been their heard them, dosn't matter lip service, quote their rules laws and they are always different when they come to do anything about, don't litter but some in authority has got to see them, as if it's going to be thrown on the floor if they see a uniform (one example ) I know some will but you get my draft,we can't do nothing if we don't see them.
Theirs the irrelevance Bill,been their heard them, dosn't matter lip service, quote their rules laws and they are always different when they come to do anything about, don't litter but some in authority has got to see them, as if it's going to be thrown on the floor if they see a uniform (one example ) I know some will but you get my draft,we can't do nothing if we don't see them. jumperr
  • Score: 0

9:40am Sun 10 Aug 14

mikeashworth says...

Try this at St Helens town hall and see what happens. It's interesting that no offocial comment in story from council officers or councillors.
Try this at St Helens town hall and see what happens. It's interesting that no offocial comment in story from council officers or councillors. mikeashworth
  • Score: 7

8:25pm Tue 12 Aug 14

keepitreel says...

just heard a rumour so cant say it is true but according to a good source the council has opened an account at BOOTS to buy lippy and foundation for the lady council members when they appear on our screens the first ton was baggysd by RIMMER.
With all the technology bought with out tax money each council member has, why cant we have live streaming at every meeting,then we could see what each member actually does and says,who turns up and who just does what BAZZA tells them.
just heard a rumour so cant say it is true but according to a good source the council has opened an account at BOOTS to buy lippy and foundation for the lady council members when they appear on our screens the first ton was baggysd by RIMMER. With all the technology bought with out tax money each council member has, why cant we have live streaming at every meeting,then we could see what each member actually does and says,who turns up and who just does what BAZZA tells them. keepitreel
  • Score: 3

7:03am Wed 13 Aug 14

frankly says...

I would rather watch cbbc or a laurel and hardy film.
I would rather watch cbbc or a laurel and hardy film. frankly
  • Score: 0

8:47am Wed 13 Aug 14

barrie timpson says...

I would imagine it would be a bit like a Laurel and Hardy film watching these?
I would imagine it would be a bit like a Laurel and Hardy film watching these? barrie timpson
  • Score: 0

8:56am Wed 13 Aug 14

jumperr says...

What a way to get them to do what they got voted in for,now let's see if they change their policies too suit,
What a way to get them to do what they got voted in for,now let's see if they change their policies too suit, jumperr
  • Score: 3

10:29am Thu 14 Aug 14

Hughwithaview says...

barrie timpson wrote:
I would imagine it would be a bit like a Laurel and Hardy film watching these?
I think you are pitching it a bit too high there Barrie - I would say more like the Chuckle Brothers than Stan and Ollie!
[quote][p][bold]barrie timpson[/bold] wrote: I would imagine it would be a bit like a Laurel and Hardy film watching these?[/p][/quote]I think you are pitching it a bit too high there Barrie - I would say more like the Chuckle Brothers than Stan and Ollie! Hughwithaview
  • Score: 1

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