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Agenda Item No. 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Democratic Services Committee: 26th July, 2016

 

Report of the Head of Democratic Services

 

Webcasting of Meetings

Purpose of the Report

  1. To facilitate consideration by Members as to whether there should be any expansion of the existing level of webcasting of meetings.

Recommendations

  1. THAT Cabinet be recommended to agree the extension of webcasting of the Council's meetings to include meetings of Full Council.

Reasons for the Recommendation

1                To further improve accessibility in terms of the Council's decision-making and scrutiny processes.

Background

  1. Members will be aware that meetings of the Council's Planning Committee have been webcast since December 2014. As indicated in previous reports to the Committee, and, indeed, to Cabinet, the intention was always to review the approach to webcasting.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The webcasting of meetings of the Planning Committee is one of the ways in which the Council has sought to increase accessibility in terms of its decision-making processes. The process is facilitated 'in-house' by the Council's ICT Division. Officers are to be commended for the work undertaken to date, with the 'end product' being comparable to Local Authorities who have engaged external providers of a webcasting service. Subject to Members' views, it is proposed that webcasting be extended to include meetings of Full Council. This will further demonstrate the Council's commitment to the process. Whilst consideration has been given to the possibility of including other meetings in the process, by its very nature, such an approach would have immediate resource implications. For example, the concept of webcasting Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees would result in approximately 70/80 meetings having to be resourced (i.e. ICT officer attendance), the majority of which take place in the evening. In the current climate, in which savings are constantly having to be effected, it is not considered that incurring additional staffing costs of such a scale could be justified.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Any costs associated with the expansion of webcasting to include meetings of Full Council would be met from within existing resources.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There is currently no legal requirement on Local Authorities to webcast meetings, although it is possible that Welsh Government may seek to legislate for such at a future date.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. Webcasting of meetings provides improved accessibility to the Council's decision-making processes.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Webcasting of Council meetings can contribute to promoting local democracy and increasing community engagement by increasing citizens' awareness of the democratic process.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This is an internal matter and, therefore, no external consultation has been necessary.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Corporate Performance and Resources.

Background Papers

Report to Cabinet :14th March, 2016

Contact Officer

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services

(01446 709408)

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Responsible Officer:

Jeff Wyatt,

Head of Democratic Services

 

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