‘Part of history’: revolt stops removal of council meetings from YouTube

Shaun Vincent, Broadland District Council leader, was unsuccessful in trying to get council meetings

Shaun Vincent, Broadland District Council leader, was unsuccessful in trying to get council meetings removed from YouTube Pic: Norfolk Conservatives. - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

Calls to remove council meetings from YouTube have been rejected following demands to preserve them as a “historic record”.

Council meetings are being held virtually during the pandemic, with councillors meeting on Zoom or Microsoft Teams and broadcast to the public live on YouTube.

The move has increased public engagement with local authorities with more residents watching live streams of meetings or viewing uploaded recordings on the site.

Broadland Council put forward a proposal to remove the videos from YouTube after minutes from the respective meetings were published on its website.

READ MORE: Virtual council meeting held to decide not to hold virtual council meetings

Speaking at a meeting held on Thursday, September 24, Shaun Vincent, council leader, said: “It’s important that the council and all of its committee meetings are available to the public. The policy before us is trying to ensure the appropriate management of these videos and also the ability to do some housekeeping as far as just keeping them up to date and relevant rather than just having a list of old meetings on there.”

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But councillors objected to the idea of removing the recordings and voted to reject the proposals.

Lana Hempsall, Conservative councillor, said: “I’d be really sad to see these disappear. I think the recordings should just stay.

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“This is a period of time I think we’re all going to remember and the way we’ve worked with things is quite exemplar.”

The monitoring officer Emma Hodds said public interaction had increased during the pandemic, and managing director Trevor Holden added that there was no technical reason for the videos to be removed from the website.

READ MORE: Lack of accountability fears spark demand for virtual council meetings

Conservative councillor Shelagh Gurney added: “They should be kept on Youtube for the future.

“They demonstrate a period of history which is unique.”

She said she had been contacted by students who were using the videos as part of their studies on politics and local government.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Riley said: “Other council’s were doing this before Covid-19 in some places - it’s highlighting the issue of transparency and I think the longer its left on the better.”

Natasha Harpley, Labour councillor, added: “There’s no reason to delete them. It would be a wise thing to keep them for good as an important historic record.”

And Ken Helly, Conservative member said: “It’s part of history - to do anything different is silly.”

Councillors voted against removing the videos on YouTube.

READ MORE: SPECIAL REPORT: Will lockdown rules impact local democracy and accountability of our councils?

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