I spoke yesterday in front of the Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee to put forward the new rules governing council meetings.
Since introducing the Localism Act 2011, the Government has encouraged councils to allow members of the public to tweet, blog, facebook and video what goes on in council meetings. The vast majority of councils have been happy to do so, but a few are still resisting our changing use of technology. We have, therefore, taken the decision to write this guidance into law.
From now on, you can record what transpires in any council meeting through sound, video, blogs or social media. Whether you are in the public area at County Hall, attending a meeting of the Borough Council or sitting in on a meeting of one of our many parish councils, you have the right to report what is being said and how people are voting.
This is a big step forward in local democracy. Councils have responsibility for so many aspects of our lives, from school provision to bin collection, street lights to coastal erosion. I and the Government want to make it as easy as possible for you to shine a light on the fantastic work these councils do, or publicise controversial decisions that may have otherwise passed by unnoticed.
My department will soon be publishing a guide which will outline your new rights when attending council meetings. Keep your eye on our website to find out more!