Tag: democracy

[Shropshire Council has censored this blog post.] Members of the public have always had a right to be heard at Shropshire Council meetings. Since the council was founded in 2009, public questions and petitions have been heard at the beginning of the meeting. That’s going to change. The new council leader, Malcolm Pate, is determined to end any public participation in council meetings. At present residents can ask a public question. The question is tabled at the beginning of the meeting. The resident then asks a supplementary question. It is answered by a cabinet member. This will end under Malcolm Pate’s proposals. Public questions and the answers to them will be noted at the meeting, with no opportunity to ask a supplementary question. There will be no public participation as at present. It will not be worth members of the public turning up. Many will think it will not be…

Read more…

In May, I was not alone in castigating Shropshire Council for actions “worthy of a totalitarian state” when it confiscated cameras from members of the public at the beginning of a council meeting. Three days after Viv Parry gave notice of a question at last Thursday’s council meeting, the rules were changed. Now Keith Barrow has said he wants council meetings to be broadcast. He told last Thursday’s council meeting: I think this council meeting should be videoed. I have asked officers to look at the feasibility of video – not just the council meeting but I think planning meetings as well. I think it would be good for the council and good for people as well. I wholeheartedly agree with this. Recording and broadcasting of council and planning meetings should be instigated as soon as possible – even if it is initially just audio recordings. (Must as the House…

Read more…
Shropshire Council loosens its restrictive rules on recording council meetings

Back in May, I was not alone in castigating Shropshire Council for actions “worthy of a totalitarian state” when it confiscated cameras from members of the public at the beginning of a council meeting. Now it has backed down. The new guidance was issued three days after my colleague, councillor Vivienne Parry submitted a question about the confiscation for the full council meeting on 23 July. The new guidance is shorter and in line with government legislation put in place last October. The previous guidance had permitted video and audio recording by the public without notice, but not by the media or commercial interests. Use of still cameras was restricted to the first five minutes of a council meeting and required notice two working days beforehand.

Shropshire Council in democratic failure after illegal confiscation of cameras at council meeting

In a move worthy of a totalitarian state, yesterday Shropshire Council confiscated cameras from members of the public attending its council meeting. It also prevented recording of the meeting. In doing so, it was in breach of national statutes which clearly state that recording should of meetings should be allowed without hindrance. I find it unbelievable in an age of supposedly open government that cameras were confiscated. The banning of recording was not legal. I can’t see that taking cameras away from members of the public was legal. Shropshire Council should make a public apology for its anti-democratic actions.

Back to top