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Tower Hamlets mulls £75k webcast system

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Tower Hamlets LBC is considering spending £75,000 on a webcasting system after banning members of the public from photographing, recording or filming its meetings.

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.

A meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday is set to look at 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 describes the system of fixed video cameras and microphones in the council chamber as “old and unreliable”.

Conservative opposition group leader Peter Golds has previously criticised the council’s failure to webcast its meetings.

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