Saturday, 17 January 2015

Two councillors resign over filming of council meetings

Two Stapleford town councillors have resigned from the council after a residents group started filming their council meetings.

Cllrs Caroline Bartliff and Mark Elvin both said they had no option to resign because of the filming but don't appear to have explained what the impact on their lives that the filming causes actually is. They haven't attended council meetings for six months since the filming started and have left it too late to resign for a by-election to be called as fresh elections will be held in May. Presumably they continued to claim their allowances whilst taking this stand against democracy,

Council meetings are public meetings and anyone is entitled to attend. Prior to a legislation change last year, councils were allowed to refuse permission to record meetings but they are no longer allowed to ban recording of council meetings. The rules allowing members of the public and press to be excluded from a meeting where confidential matters are being discussed remain in place do there are no privacy issues.

There is no reasonable argument against the filming of a council meeting. Residents can attend council meetings and filming them just means they are accessible to more residents than those that are able to get to the meeting when it happens.