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COSLA TO EXAMINE VIDEO LINKED MEETINGS

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COSLA is to examine the issue of councillors using video links to take part in meetings rather than attending in pe...
COSLA is to examine the issue of councillors using video links to take part in meetings rather than attending in person.

The move came at yesterday's meeting of COSLA's rural afairs forum where councillors heard that the issue was particularly important in rural areas where long journeys, often affected by poor weather, impacted on councillors attending meetings at a central location.

But, councillors were warned, there were a number of difficulties with video linking for meetings and amendments to legislation would be required, which would probably have to wait for the Scottish parliament.

Dick Walsh, convener of the rural affairs forum, described the difficulties councillors in rural areas faced in getting to meetings: 'Some council areas are extremely widespread and councillors can face very long journeys to reach meetings - in my own council - Argyll and Bute - many councillors have to make a ferry crossing to reach council headquarters.

'Obviously, in the winter such journeys are made even more difficult, indeed hazardous, for members.'

Cllr Walsh continued: 'Video linking for council meetings would ease much of the burden on councillors, freeing them from extensive travelling time yet still allowing them full participation in meetings

and also making cost savings.

'There are many difficulties with video links, but certainly when current legislation was put in place such technology cannot possibly have been envisaged and as we move into the next millennium local

government should be moving forward and using all the technology that is available to us to provide a better service for our communities.'

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