Thursday, 26 September 2013

Changes On Rules For Filming Council Meetings Confirmed

Councillors in South Cambridgeshire have confirmed changes to the rules on filming council meetings following new guidance being issued by the Government.

At a meeting of Full Council today (Thursday 26 September), councillors at South Cambridgeshire District Council agreed for the constitution to be updated so bloggers, journalists and anyone attending a public meeting can film, photo or record events.

The Council had previously asked anyone wanting to film at meetings to make contact in advance but generally always allowed filming to go ahead.

Filming will not be allowed where the public have been excluded during the consideration of exempt or confidential items. Anyone recording a meeting will also be asked to stop if it is being done in a way that is disruptive or distracting to the meeting.

The updated guidance from Government was issued by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government, also encouraged councils to allow blogging and tweeting from council meetings which the District Council already encouraged due to its growing popularity.

The changes to the Council’s constitution followed recommendations made by councillors on the Civic Affairs Committee who met earlier this month and will be reviewed in 12 months to help make sure residents have good access to information and the Council remains as open and transparent as possible.

Councillors also agreed for the corporate and customer services portfolio holder to look into the possibility of streaming public meetings to give even more people access to the debates held in the Council chamber.

Cllr David Whiteman-Downes, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: “We constantly review our constitution as trends change and we are very keen to make sure residents have easy access to information. Technology is important to us in doing that and we have always welcomed filming whenever we have been asked. This change makes things clearer for everyone and removes unnecessary red tape and we will continue to look at ways of improving access to information within the resources available.”