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First Live Webcast of Guildford Borough Council Meeting

Published on: 12 Dec, 2013
Updated on: 16 Dec, 2013
One of the cameras that will be used to webcast Guildford Borough Council meetings.

One of the cameras that will be used to webcast Guildford Borough Council meetings.

The first live webcast of a Guildford Borough Council (GBC) meeting will take place tonight (November 12) when a full council meeting will commence at 7pm.

Anyone with internet access will be able to view the meeting live, via the council’s website*.

Council leader Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) said: “I think the fact that hundreds of people have attended some of the most recent council meetings and the level of interest in the Local Plan is testament to the level of interest from the public.

“The webcasting service will allow people who are interested in council affairs but who might not be able to attend to be fully informed. All councils are moving in this direction and, in my view, this is the democratic process keeping pace with social change.”

The cameras are discretely positioned at each corner of the chamber.

The council chamber at Millmead. Two of the camera positions indicated by the white arrows. The cameras are discretely positioned close to each corner of the chamber.

Opposition councillors were also enthusiastic. Cllr Zoe Franklin (Lib Dem, Stoke) said: “The Lib Dem group are delighted that Guildford Borough Council has made a commitment to webcast meetings, beginning with today’s full council meeting.

“Residents can see how engaged their local councillor is in council debates and hear their views on a much wider variety of topics than they will likely hear about on the doorstep or in political literature. They can go back and watch previous meetings should a press story or other forum whet their appetite.

“We believe this all adds up to residents and voters who are better informed on local issues. It will make it much easier for councillors, and the council as a whole, to be held accountable for the decisions taken.

“One of our core values is to be ‘open and accountable’ and through a relatively small financial outlay our meetings become much more accessible to the people of Guildford.”

Cllr Angela Gunning (Stoke) leader of the Labour Group said: “I think it will give residents an insight into how council business is conducted. They can see and hear who says what, and how they say it. They can see that informed debate takes place.

“It will encourage people to take an interest, without having to trek down to GBC offices of an evening. They can view proceedings at their own convenience. I welcome this initiative.”

Four cameras have been installed in the council chamber.  Successful trial runs have taken place of the last two council meetings but these were not made public.

Council officers in the Democratic Services team have been trained to operate the system from a workstation that has been set up in the corner of the chamber.

*www.guildford.gov.uk/webcasting

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