IN JULY Hedon Town Councillor Sarah Rommell raised the possibility of broadcasting Hedon Town Council meetings live on the internet so that local residents had an additional opportunity to follow the debates and decision-making that takes place at the Town Hall – especially useful for those people who find attending the actual council meetings difficult or impossible.

Town Hall - on the internet!?
Town Hall – on the internet!?

The prospect of Hedon Council ‘Live’ has now diminished somewhat in that the first system looked at by the council to deliver that service carried a hefty price-tag that put it beyond the capacity of a small local town council. However, there are alternatives that can be investigated.

Live ‘reporting’ from the council chamber could be undertaken with key comments of councillors being broadcast via social media services such as this blog, or on Twitter and Facebook. Agendas and other public documents could be reproduced live as they are used in the meeting for wider public viewing.

An example how this might work was demonstrated by the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove who tweeted his experiences as part of a police 999 response team live on Twitter at the beginning of August.

We reproduce his current Twitter feed here, and ask you to imagine it being updated every few minutes. Using the same system, the Hedon Blog could report live from the Council chamber – and it is FREE. The Twitter feed also provides a record of the meeting (from the reporter’s account) which can be kept. Whilst this would never be used as an official record (that’s why minutes of meetings are kept) it would provide a record of interest.

There are other systems available too that enable live reporting and live blogging, some which allow for comments and input from members of the public on what is taking place. This would provide second-hand, reported accounts of meetings – and while it doesn’t satisfy Councillor Rommell’s desire to make the meetings themselves accessible on the internet – it does take us a step closer to live broadcasting.

But before we invest a lot of time in researching this, we need to determine whether local residents in Hedon would actually use such a service, want to see what goes on at the Town Hall, and actually follow the meetings? Whilst we would all probably welcome the existence of such a service, they key point is – would we use it!?

This ‘straw-poll’ tries to identify if such a service would be used – but we also welcome your comments and thoughts on this

PS: If there are any digital developers out there with low-cost / no-cost ideas for how we can extend our democracy and encourage participation using the internet – then please get in touch.

9 thoughts on “Live coverage of your Town Council meetings!?

  1. Difficult to see how many would use any such system but worth asking the question, however residents of Hedon have the chance to question members of the council at the meeting on Thursday 24th October at 7pm until 7.30pm, then please stay for the meetings straight after, Planning, Finance and General and Hedon Town Council, all on the first floor of the Town Hall.

    1. With reference to the flag not being able to be flown , I did hear something about the chairman of the church council not applying in time about a ladder, one more case of incompetance !!!!!!

      1. As a Church Warden at St Augustines, Hedon I wish to clarify the position regarding the new staircase. In order to do ANY work to the Church, permission has to be sought from York in the form of a faculty. In effect, this constitutes a planning application the same as you have to have to make alterations to your own property. In addition, the Church Architect has to be involved. None of this happens quickly. Finally – we have the question of funding. Last year our Flower Festival raised enough money to pay for the materials to have a suitable “ladder” constructed. This is to be fabricated and installed free of charge, and to Health & Safely and Insurance satisfaction. In addition, we need to have the trapdoor on the roof altered and a new hatch cover installed, together with a non-slip surface covering the lead roof. The ladder is costing £3,500. The hatch is £1,500 and the non-slip roof covering a further £2,000.

        With regard to hearing that the Chairman of the PCC did not apply in time for the faculty:
        1. The chair of the PCC does not make the application so where you have got that from, I don’t know.
        2. Your comment reads as if the Town Council and the PCC are one and the same. They are not.
        3. The ladder which is currently in-situ is now very dangerous and if anyone was to climb it as it is at present and were to fall, they would fall straight onto the bells. We cannot allow any activity such as this whilst we do not have suitable access to the roof.

        We are planning to have an official opening of the new staircase next Easter – the reason it is planned for so far ahead is to ensure we have enough money to have purchased and put in place all of the above, and not advertise an event which we will have to cancel.

        I trust this answers your questions. If anyone would like to visit and see the current situation and peruse the plans for the new staircase, I would be delighted to arrange to meet them and for someone to take them up the tower. Please do not hesitate to contact me on 896343 if you would like any further information.

        1. Thanks Phil – You’ve given an excellent explanation on the situation regarding the staircase, which I’m sure more than answers Mr Ford’s question, and provides an interesting insight into some of the necessary bureaucracy that has to be undertaken in order to get things done!

          Really looking forward to completion of the project, which as well as allowing access to the flagpole and roof, will also enable those amazing views of the town and surrounding area to become available once again!

  2. Sounds like a very good idea. Incidentally, one of the bellringers at St Augustines church was complaining about the flags not being able to be flown until around next Easter. Can anyone explaine the reason for this?

  3. What a brilliant idea, Live Council meetings, I am all for it, then we can all see which Councillors are there , who attends when, who doesn’t attend, and how often, who causes Trouble and who doesn’t
    It should be compulsory viewing , far better than any soap on the telly

  4. Hi,
    What I want is live broadcasting that allows the public to interact over Internet with the Councillors. I would also like the public to be able to access meetings held previously. This gives the public the full experience of the Council, not just hearing about reports but watching the Councillors in action,seeing what matters to them and what they stand for. Total transparency and accountabity.

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