Tower Hamlets LBC has agreed to continue not recording and broadcasting council meetings, despite an earlier decision to ban members of the public from taping, filming or photographing meetings.
The council’s cabinet decided last week to take no action on a report outlining a range of options for webcasting meetings, thus continuing the current practice of not recording council meetings.
This was one of four options considered by the cabinet last week, one of which would have involved upgrading the council’s existing recording systems, at an estimated cost of up to £75,000.
Conservative opposition leader Peter Golds last year criticised the council leadership for not making meetings available to the public over the internet.
In February, the authority amended its constitution preventing members of the public and guests from recording meetings but vowed to webcast all public council meetings within 48 hours, but it has yet to implemented the pledge.
The cabinet had considered three options:
Using existing CCTV equipment to implement a “basic, low quality service” that could be delivered within existing budgets;
Upgrading the existing system, employing “pan-tilt cameras” and “ambient microphones” to improve sound and picture quality at a one-off cost of up to £75,000; and
Contracting out the webcasting at a cost of £25,000 a year, which would allow meetings to be streamed live and would typically offer sub-titles and links to explanatory materials such as presentations and reports.
The cabinet report described the system of fixed video cameras and microphones in the council chamber as “old and unreliable”.