Should Welwyn Hatfield meetings be shown live over the internet?

PUBLISHED: 16:50 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:50 17 November 2014

A still from a previous Welwyn Hatfield Council meeting

A still from a previous Welwyn Hatfield Council meeting


Borough officials are facing calls to broadcast council meetings live over the internet.

Welwyn Hatfield Council has announced it is considering live streaming of sessions, but has yet to reach a decision.

This week the leader of the opposition Labour group called on bosses to start filming meetings.

Councillor Kieran Thorpe told the WHT: “We need to increase engagement with local politics and electors should feel a sense of responsibility and empowerment over the people they put into bat for them in the council chamber.

“The technology is there, other councils already do this, we should embrace this as a change for the better.”

Neighbouring Hertsmere Council spends £11,000 a year having its meetings webcast.

Figures released last week show there were just over 24,000 views between October 2013 and October 2014.

It has been filming meetings since 2005, and a report released last week said many authorities were still catching up, nearly a decade later.

A spokesman from Welwyn Hatfield Council said live streaming of meetings was being weighed up to coincide with the opening of its new council chamber.

In the meantime, meetings are being held in locations across the borough.

The chamber will be introduced as part of a £4.4million redevelopment at the council’s Campus East headquarters.

The authority spokesman said: “The council has no immediate plans to live stream from committee 
meetings. The fact that there 
is no permanent location for meetings while work continues at the main council offices makes this more difficult, however it is something we can consider once the new 
council chamber is in place.

“Members of the public can record any public council meetings, and we encourage people to come along to all public meetings so they can see first-hand how the decision making process works.”

But he said that two meetings of the council’s cabinet housing and planning panel had been filmed and later uploaded to filesharing site YouTube last month.

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