Live webcasts to record meetings

August 10, 2017
North Shore Times
Caryn Metcalfe

Streaming will allow better public access and transparency, and make Council more efficient: Mayor

After months of conflict, Willoughby Council has finally approved the introduction of webcasting.

At Monday night’s meeting, the council voted to adopt a revised Code of Meeting Practice to allow webcasting. A total of $35,000 from the first quarter budget review for 2017/18 will be used to implement webcasting council meetings.

The item was passed in bulk with a number of other items at the last meeting of the council’s term.

Community consultation during June and July confirmed there was no opposition to revising the Code of Meeting Practice.

Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney said some councillors’ wariness stemmed from concerns over defamation.

“We have had some very thorough reporting in the past and councillors are feeling more comfortable,” she said. “Live webcasting of council meetings will allow for better public access and further facilitate openness and transparency, making Willoughby a more efficient and smarter council.

“Webcasting of meetings is something many other councils across Australia have already implemented and I’m pleased Willoughby will also now offer this to our community.”

Lane Cove Council was an early adopter of live streaming, passing their own motion on the topic in April 2010, before implementing it later that year.

The council keeps an archive of meeting recordings back to that time, with the public having direct access to recordings up to 2013 via the council’s website.

Willoughby Council will have webcasts available on the web and publicly available for one year, before being archived internally.

A council spokeswoman said archived footage may be edited “but only in exceptional circumstances, such as in cases of defamation or by court order”. General manager Debra Just said council officers had confirmed the webcast equipment was expected to be installed by early 2018 with live streaming operational soon after. A statement at the start of council meetings will advise of the broadcast.

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