Live-streaming Council Meetings

I really should have got round to writing about this earlier.

I did some work recently with Wakefield Council to help them to live stream their Council meetings. I gave them an insight into my live-streaming methods, we worked together to ensure the connectivity to the council chamber was optimised, and then I live-streamed a meeting, observed closely by a member of council staff who has since live-streamed a meeting himself, solo.

I am all in favour of council using hi-tech methods and multiple cameras to showcase their meetings to the public. But, as I have written elsewhere, not every council can afford such methods, and they don’t always know there are cheaper ways of doing it.

We had a major hitch for the first live-streamed Wakefield Council meeting. The internet connection went down 5 minutes before the meeting was due to start, and wasn’t restored until 45 minutes in. But, despite the fact that people were left looking at a brief test recording for the first 45 minutes, there were 415 live viewers for that first broadcast. A result, I think.

Here is that first broadcast (missing the first 45 minutes), although the rest of it is archived here.

If any other councils (or other organisations) are interested in doing something similar, please contact me here

7 thoughts on “Live-streaming Council Meetings

  1. John,

    This is great.

    Can we use your comments area to discuss the benefits to councils and their constituents of live streaming meetings?

    To start, (assuming i am moderated positively!) I would like to mention collaboration and co-operation of the community due to being able to understand how decisions are reached, what decisions have been reached (potentially in real time or T-45m in this instance!) and why.

    This then it would seem to me enables engagement of those interested in and affected by said decisions with their civic representatives and processes.

    This ought to result in a more agile democracy. A three line p27 “report” in the weekly newspaper can, surely, not be as effective in bringing local authority (or parish, or school governors, PTA, church, community organisation etc) decisions to the attention of the community?

    We all know there are pros and cons of such interactions. The growth of social interaction (Twitter, live streaming etc) from the public sector must surely by now be leading us to a Lessons Learned and “Best Practise with Your Public” shareable set of guidelines?

    Thanks for sharing.

      • (Advance apols for typos; I am on a nokia 6230!)

        Thanks for the link.

        Oh for Big Society and localism to have caught on fully, again 😉

        Live streaming in itself can be a threat as IT makes Councillors etc accountable. Forever more, potentially – what goes online stays online is part of the FUD factor putting authorities off?

        However, beyond the hustings and for a working democracy, that is surely what we need? A chance to respond and ask for public accountability for public decisions and funds….

        Harman and Hodge probably are not terribly happy about the exposes of their political naïveté way back when re PIE right now, but what this country needs is a) a proactive AND reactive electorate as well as b) honest, developing and listening elected representatives. Willing to own up to past mistakes and be held to account by an increasingly aware voting and caring public.

        Live streams are just one part of that process.

        I’d like to re-in force the comment re cost. CCTV has overrun budgets in too many LAs, boroughs, towns etc. completely unwarranted, pointless, overspend. It is not the technology which is wrong but the procurement process. No-one got sacked for buying IBM [industry solution] huh? Maybe not, but too often, instead of being innovative, our LAs have chosen “safe” options that in times of austerity etc have been cut, leaving the constituents with nothing, instead of an exciting option that is not proprietary nor owned by a private corp, but by those who are paying for it – the community.

        Just my 2p!

  2. Nicely done John. Some Councils have been stung by very steep costs (hundred of thousands) to achieve their live streams. It need not cost a huge amount at all. Automation is quite possible these days.

  3. Pingback: Do you need a Council Meeting Broadcasting? | John Popham's Random Musings

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