Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Please Sign my New Petitions

Link to National Assembly for Wales Petitions page;  (English) (Cymraeg)
(Name of Petitioner; Jacqui Thompson)

Petition One - Filming and Recording of Council Meetings
In light of recent posts (and events) regarding the filming of Council meetings, I decided to launch a petition on the Welsh Assembly website. This does not just relate to Carmarthenshire County Council of course but includes all Welsh Local Authorities. Some, I know, are experimenting with webcasting council meetings, but this petition, in the interests of democracy and openness goes a bit further. As to the question of setting-up costs, as far as 'webcasting' is concerned, I believe this would be quite low and could be taken from the sizeable PR budgets each Council spends every year (and would be far more useful); and, of course, allowing members of the public to record and film would cost nothing at all - In the meantime, I shall be continuing my own efforts to make Carmarthenshire Council more transparent.

"We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to place a statutory requirement on all local authorities in Wales to record, broadcast or livestream all Council meetings which are open to the public, via their existing websites to ensure openness and transparency. This requirement should allow members of the public, as responsible observers, to record or film such meetings without the need for prior permission and to re-use the material freely to provide a direct and wider line of communication to the electorate."
(Direct link to this petition;

 Petition Two - Local Authority Spending Details over £500
I have launched this petition, which again covers all Local Authorities in Wales, in light of recent responses I have had from Carmarthenshire County Council regarding this subject. As many Councils in England have now complied with Westminster's guidance to publish this data, I see no reason why Wales should be excluded from this exercise in transparency. The information is already available on various internal council databases so would merely need to be collated centrally and in a form suitable for access and in compliance with the Data Protection Act. Initial costs would be offset by a reduction in the volume of Freedom of Information requests received by Local Authorities concerning spending details particularly if the data supplied is as specific and meaningful as it can be.

"We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to place a statutory requirement on all local authorities in Wales to publish details of all spending over £500 in the interest of openness and transparency. The details should be published online and in a format accessible to the public with the freedom to re-use the data."
(Direct link to this petition;
If you agree with either one or (hopefully) both petition statements, please follow the links. The two seperate petitions are now live and ready to sign (if you wish) and I shall be promoting them over the coming weeks. The links at the top of the post take you to the main Assembly petitions page. Further information as to how petitions are considered by the Assembly can be found on their site.
I would be very grateful if others who agree with these sentiments would kindly pass on the petition links above to like minded folk. Please remember these are issues which cover the whole of Wales, not just Carmarthenshire. If anyone wants any further information, please email me through this site, or via my Twitter or Facebook.
Many thanks in advance.
(please search this blog for posts relating to the subjects of both petitions by using the searchbox on the right, many are very recent)


Photon said...

If Parliament, the Lords, and the Supreme Court have their proceedings filmed, are councils trying to say their business is somehow more important and therefore should not be filmed?

Happy to sign.

Dic Deryn said...

The real reason is the obsession which Carmarthenshire (and probably other councils too) has with "managing the message" to ensure that everything that goes out has the right spin. Behind the scenes, the press has been coerced into "positive reporting", and the council's own "newspaper" puts out a consistently positive stream of stories about successes, targets being met, new developments and initiatives, bountiful harvests and happy peasants. Alastair Campbell could learn something from this lot.

The reality of council meetings is a phalanx of mostly very rich and elderly "Independent" (Carmarthenshire dialect for Tory) councillors nodding through everything they are told to by an over-mighty executive. The most amazing thing about the "Independents" is that they always vote en-bloc with a discipline not seen since the days of the Supreme Soviet.

Photon said...

Da iawn, Dic Deryn!

Still, if it's a public meeting, it's diffiicult to see why a camera, as opposed to the human eye, cannot see it. What mischief is the 'no video recording' rule meant to address? It seems the answer is 'ummm'...

glenn said...

I love this site.

Anonymous said...

I think its disgusting that you were treated in this way..It seems as though Carms may have a lot to hide....roll on 2012 and the local elections