ePetition details

Filming of Council Proceedings.

We the undersigned petition the council to allow any member of the public who so wishes to record any council, cabinet and committee meeting, by video or audio, unless the public are legally excluded under section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972. It is important to recognise that not all members of the public have the means or time to attend public meetings in person, and any method of bringing the workings of this Council, whether good or bad, in an open, honest and transparent way, should be applauded.

Twice in the last week, committees of Wirral Borough Council have asked a member of the public to stop filming proceedings (cf. http://easyvirtualassistance.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/a-clampdown-in-progress-will-wirral-council-ban-the-public-from-filming-meetings/ ). The member of public in question attends a vast number of Council meetings, releasing recordings of them in to the public domain.

He should be applauded for his dedication in trying to actively engage the wider public in the workings of local government, rather than vilified as being "intrusive", "unnerving" and "disruptive".

Started by: Mark Harrison

This ePetition ran from 14/12/2012 to 26/07/2013 and has now finished.

Final results
Option Count Percentage
Agree 25 Political party colourPolitical party colour 100.0%
Disagree 0 0%
ePetition results graph

Council response

There has been recent discussion and guidance issued around members of the public being permitted to film Council meetings and the Secretary of State for Local Government, in summary, has made it clear that filming of Council meetings should be permitted. At Council meetings held on 12 December 2011 and 17 December 2012 the Council considered the issue of filming. In summary, the Council supports filming at Council meetings and its approach is consistent with the Local Authority (Meetings and Access)(England) Regulations 2012 and the guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Local Government.

However, there have been some concerns raised around the manner in which some filming has been undertaken, such as with the use of tripod on the front row of the public seating area, which was distracting members and interfering with them engaging with the work of the committee. Accordingly, it is proposed that guidance will be introduced to ensure appropriate safeguards (so as practicably possible) are introduced and understood by those undertaking filming.

The guidance will expressly state that filmed material must not be manipulated or edited so as to (i) undermine accurate and responsible reporting of the meeting; or (ii) cause offence, harm or distress to those who have been filmed. Other appropriate safeguards and responsibilities will be included in the guidance so that those partaking in the activity understand what is expected of them.

For now, any filming carried out should not be allowed to interfere with proceedings and Chairs may ask that appropriate steps be taken by those filming so as to limit the impact/disruption upon other members of the public and members. Where filming is to be carried out, the Chair of the Committee should also advise members of the public at the start of the meeting that filming is to take place. Should there be objection, those filming must ensure that the objector(s) is not filmed.

The policy and guidance will be considered by the Licensing, Health and Safety and General Purposes Committee at its meeting on 2 October 2013 and the Committee will be asked to have regard to your ePetition in its deliberations.