AGENDA ITEM 13
COUNTY COUNCIL
APRIL 17TH 2013

WEBCASTING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS

Purpose: To inform Members of the implementation of webcasting for the filming of Council meetings for a 12 month pilot.

RECOMMENDATIONS / KEY DECISIONS REQUIRED:
There are no recommendations and this report is for information purposes only.

REASONS:
The Council at its meeting held on 12th December 2012 noted and endorsed the decision of the Executive Board at its meeting held on 19th November 2012 to agree in principle to a pilot project for the broadcasting of council meetings to take place subject to a detailed report on costs.
Funding has now been made available by Welsh Government to enable the live broadcasting of Council meetings via the Council’s website.
The Executive Board on March 18th endorsed the detailed report for a 12 month pilot to be held into the webcasting of Council meetings in order to establish whether it improved local democracy and public engagement. The first Live broadcast subject to successful implementation of the appropriate technology will be the AGM on May 15th.

Relevant scrutiny committee to be consulted
YES Policy and Resources committee on October 12th 2012

Exec Board Decision Required YES
Council Decision Required NO /

Directorate
Name of Head of Service: Chris Burns

Report Author: Noelwyn Daniel

Designations: Assistant Chief Executive Customer Care & Policy

Performance and Information Manager

Tel Nos. 01267 224112
CBurns@sirgar.gov.uk

01267 224476
NDaniel@sirgar.gov.uk

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
COUNTY COUNCIL
APRIL 17TH 2013

WEBCASTING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS

Since the recommendations of the Task & Finish Review on E-Government were made on the filming of Council meetings there have been some significant developments in relation to this issue from the Minister.

The Minister for Welsh Government has not legislated in the area of webcasting, but he has the powers to do so. The legislation on remote attendance within the Local Government measure has not yet been enacted and it is expected that the Local Democracy Bill will be taking these matters into account. The 1st draft of the Local Democracy Bill will be available for consultation by the end of 2013 and it is anticipated that Remote Attendance will be a legal requirement in the future.

The Minister informed all Authorities on January 28th that he had 1.25 million to distribute among Council’s to be spent in this financial year to fund the promotion of local democracy and public engagement and wished some of this funding to assist in arrangements to broadcast council meetings.

The funding provision for Carmarthenshire County Council is 40k towards the costs of promoting local democracy (to include webcasting) and an additional 36k for the provision of websites for Town and Community Councils.

Carmarthenshire County Council is in a better position than most other authorities in Wales as it has already conducted a detailed review as part of the Task and Finish Review into E-Government and this matter has already been discussed at Executive Board and Council.

A Project Team has been established to implement the webcasting technology in the Chamber of County Hall. There will be four cameras placed in the Chamber and linked to the current microphone system enabling each Member to be filmed when speaking. The meeting will be broadcasted live and available via the Welsh and English sections of the Councils website. On the English side of the website a bilingual translation will be provided from Welsh into English. Awareness sessions will be held for Members on the webcasting of Council meetings prior to the first live broadcast on May 15th of the Councils AGM.

Following the agreed 12 month pilot a review will be undertaken to establish whether the webcasting of meetings had been successful in promoting local democracy and public engagement. Following consideration of the review the Council would decide whether to continue with this service and if so undertake a full tendering exercise for the ongoing provision of webcasting for the following year.

If the pilot proves successful it may be possible to hire the facility to partner organisations to attract income to offset the administrative costs.

DETAILED REPORT ATTACHED?

No

IMPLICATIONS

I confirm that other than those implications which have been agreed with the appropriate Directors / Heads of Service and are referred to in detail below, there are no other implications associated with this report :
Signed: Chris Burns Assistant Chief Executive

Policy, Crime & Disorder and Equalities

Legal

Finance

ICT

Risk Management Issues

Staffing Implications

Physical Assets

YES

NONE

YES

NONE

NONE

YES

YES /

Policy, Crime & Disorder and Equalities
The Council at its meeting held on 12th December 2012 noted and endorsed the decision of the Executive Board at its meeting held on 19th November 2012 to agree in principle to a pilot project for the broadcasting of council meetings to take place subject to a detailed report on costs.
The Executive Board held on March 18th 2013 has agreed to hold a 12 month pilot on the webcasting of Council meetings.

Finance
There is a funding grant being made available to the Council from Welsh Government to assist with promoting Local Democracy and Engagement. Carmarthenshire Council will receive a grant of 76k. This grant can be used towards Remote Attendance, Webcasting and the provision of websites for Town & Community Councils.

Physical Assets
There will be a requirement to install four small cameras in the Council Chamber at County Hall with two of those replacing existing defunct equipment on the walls. The small scale nature of the works will not materially affect the special character of the chamber as part of a listed building.

Staffing Implications
Staff resources will be required to prepare for each meeting in setting up the equipment to record and checking the links to the provider prior to the meeting, inputting relevant documents on the web page prior to the meeting, ensuring the equipment is operating correctly during the meeting. Following the meeting, placing the recording in the archive on the Council’s site with all relevant matters being time linked etc for the meeting. Staff within the Democratic services Unit will need to undergo training to undertake these additional technical roles.
Communications staff will also undergo some training to provide technical support in respect of the Council’s website

CONSULTATIONS

I confirm that the appropriate consultations have taken in place and the outcomes are as detailed below
Signed: Chris Burns Assistant Chief Executive for Customer Focus and Policy

1. Scrutiny Committee Policy and Resources Committee on October 12th 2012
2.Local Member(s) N/A
3.Community / Town Council N/A
4.Relevant Partners N/A
5.Staff Side Representatives and other Organisations N/A

Section 100D Local Government Act, 1972 – Access to Information
List of Background Papers used in the preparation of this report:

Title of Document

File Ref No.

Locations that the papers are available for public inspection

Task and Finish Group report on E Government

 

Policy and Resources Committee o12th October 2012