At WBC’s Full Council meeting on 31 October, Conservative Councillor Mark Jervis (Appleton) proposed that all Full Council meetings, which are held in Parr Hall, should be broadcast live. The recording would also be available for residents to view on the WBC website.
During the debate Councillor Jervis argued that broadcasting meetings would resolve a number of issues including: no record is made of council debates other than the outcome of the vote, so it is not possible to resolve the conflicting accounts of what was said; and often people can’t attend Full Council meetings but they would like the opportunity to see meetings or debates and this would be good for local democracy.
Labour Councillors argued that it would cost thousands of pounds to record and broadcast each meeting because Parr Hall is not set up with suitable equipment. They didn’t feel that this would be cost effective for the number of people who would want to view the meeting. The WBC official record of this debate simply states “The motion was DEFEATED.”
For the next meeting, due to be held on 5 December 2022, Cllr Jervis has proposed a new alternative motion that WBC should broadcast meetings of the Scrutiny Committee and the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee. These two committees, which meet in the Council Chamber in the Town Hall, are intended to allow councillors to scrutinise important WBC decisions and processes. For example the Scrutiny Committee recently examined a council decision to spend £63 million on an investment in Doncaster.
Councillor Nigel Balding, Leader of the WBC Conservative Councillors Group said: “I was surprised and disappointed to hear that the new motion to broadcast these two committees was rejected on the basis that it was to similar to the previously-defeated motion for broadcasting Full Council Meetings from Parr Hall.”
“Apart from the fact that these committees are different from Full Council, they are also held in the Council Chamber which has equipment installed which is already used to broadcast Cabinet and Development Management Committee meetings.“
“Under the WBC Constitution a motion can be put again after six months which means that the earliest opportunity to debate this new proposal would be in June 2023. However, I think that WBC can start to broadcast more meetings if it chooses, and many councillors are asking for this pragmatic approach.”