Tuesday 26 November 2013

Webcasting - is the end nigh?

Next Friday's Democratic Services Committee will consider a report detailing the staffing resources required to webcast council meetings. The committee's remit is to ensure there is sufficient support to enable the council to carry out its democratic functions. Unfortunately, it is not there to determine whether there is a sufficient level of democracy, which is another story of course.

According to the report, savings in Democratic Services have to be found and by not filling a currently vacant part time post, this might be achieved. The report considers the impact on the level of support offered to Members and cites the webcasting as an enormous burden which takes up everyone's time and uses 'already scarce resources'. The Business Management Group were recently 'reminded'  about the 'ongoing cost' and viewing figures 'tailing off'.

In a roundabout, insidious and determined way, the case is gradually being put forward to end the pilot after a year and failing that, definitely not to extend it to other meetings.

Perhaps I could suggest that the council seeks some advice from the numerous other authorities who manage to regularly webcast a variety of meetings without bankrupting themselves.

With the proposal to reduce the number of meetings, and to change the format of full council agendas working its way through the system, County Hall may well be on target to achieve a total shutdown of all democratic debate, and any remaining rays of transparency, by the spring.  


Mrs Angry said...

Oh dear: are viewing figures really decreasing? I find that hard to believe - the amusement rendered by the antics of senior officers and councillors in full council meetings is unbeatable: rather like a vintage Ealing Comedy. I recommend it to all, and beg Mr James and his colleagues not to deprive us of such entertainment.

Anonymous said...

No surprise about that. Happy to fund the Scarlets but no money for democracy.

Anonymous said...

Given the economic climate and unemployment statistics, I find the suggestion that CCC were unable to fill the part time DSA post incomprehensible! Even more absurd is the fact that they have a business support unit from which they could draw resources. To use the cuts as an excuse to stifle democracy adds further insult to injury.

Given that CCC and their overstaffed HR department are finding it difficult to resolve staffing issues, here are a couple of cost effective solutions!

1) Scrap the Carmarthenshire News in favour of webcasting
2) Use the ES funds awarded to the Coastal project effectively and for the purpose intended i.e. to support participants who are not in employment, education or training.

Not rocket science is it readers?