Bexley council to broadcast meetings?
PUBLISHED: 10:38 11 May 2011 | UPDATED: 15:03 11 May 2011
Bexley council bosses who gave the order to ban cameras from a meeting which voted through £35.3million worth of cuts could broadcast future meetings via webcam.
Members of the council’s Constitution Review Panel has recommended cameras be installed in the council’s new offices, on the site of the former Woolwich Building Society, on the corner of Erith Road and Watling Street, Bexleyheath. Council staff are due to move to the new site over the next three years, while councillors are due to decide on the webcam recommendation next Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The timing is dependent on our occupation of a new building and therefore exact dates are not known at this stage.
“Currently the council has an agreed protocol on audio and visual recording of proceedings at meetings. Such recordings are not permitted without prior approval and no such approval was given for the cost-saving meeting.. The council’s policy seeks to prevent people from being filmed without their consent, including members of the public.”
The panel’s report also recommends that questions should not be allowed from the public if they are ‘substantially’ the same as one asked within the last six months. This is a policy which 12 councils across the capital currently adopt. It also recommendeds that people who persistently disrupt meetings or are rude and abusive towards others, including the chairman or the mayor, should eventually forfeit the right to put questions.
Thehe public and press were barred from taking cameras into the emotionally-charged meeting in March - attended gy 165 residents - to see councillors vote through the cuts. Heckler Charan Athwal, 60, from Bexleyheath, who objected to the 100 per cent cut to the Bexley Council for Equality and Diversity (BCED), had to be repeatedly warned by security guards to be quiet. Later the leader of the opposition Chris Ball tried to calm him.