Thank you to the Western Mail for printing my letter today, it was the open email I sent to the Minister of Local Government, Carl Sargeant about the Council insisting that a 15 yr old boy sign their 'filming undertaking. My earlier blog post is here and a link to the letters page is here (first letter).
The newspaper also went to the trouble of extracting a response to the letter from the Welsh Assembly;
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: The Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant has placed on record his support for the principle of recording and broadcasting council meetings. Modern technology enables this possibility without prohibitive expense. It should be seen as a means of increasing public engagement with their local government.
Local authorities make their own arrangements concerning access to their meetings. What is important is that the public must be given access other than when confidential matters are under consideration.
Sadly Mr Sargeant does not share my outrage at the council insisting a minor signs a legal undertaking and he yet again leaves the Local Authority to do as they wish, no matter how appalling their actions are. His reluctance to intervene is again a disappointment. Of course it is important that the public are 'given access' to meetings, but they should be welcomed and encouraged, not made to sign (and print name and address) on weird and wonderful undertakings, escorted by wardens and locked in.
The long suffering reception staff have to deal with the 'orders from above' and it is patently obvious that they are embarrassed whenever the ritual is questioned, they are being asked to go over and above the call of duty.
Clearly if the public are allowed to film, which is far from certain, the entry rigmarole should be scrapped, of course it should never have been implemented in the first place. But we'll have to wait and see about that.