Deputy mayor’s call for recording of its meetings is rejected

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A call by the deputy mayor for Berwick Town Council meetings to be recorded has fallen on deaf ears.

Councillor Georgina Hill had tabled a proposal asking for the council to permit filming, recording and the taking of photographs at its meetings.

She also wanted the authority to allow the use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

However, the motion was defeated by an 8-2 vote on Monday night.

Coun John Robertson said: “The public already have the opportunity to come to our meetings. Why do we have to record them if they can’t be bothered to come and see for themselves?”

Members also voiced concerns about their views being edited which could lead to a misinterpretation of proceedings.

Coun John Stephenson warned: “If someone makes a recording and we don’t have back-up recording ourselves then I think that would be deeply concerning.”

Coun Alan Turnbull felt social media had an important role to play in promoting the work of the council but he shared concerns about comments being distorted.

There was also the cost to consider if the council had to buy its own recording gear.

Coun Hill has been crusading for greater openness and transparency at the council since its finance committee, meeting in private, controversially agreed to take over the management of the Portas scheme from the town team.

She said: “I think the public will be very disappointed by the decision. We want to encourage participation and attendance. It was a chance to show that we are open and have nothing to hide and that we have put unfortunate incidents in the past behind us.”

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