Coming soon to YouTube: County Hall meetings to be streamed live

Labour councillor Dave Rowntree, who proposed live streaming for meetings last year Photo :Steve Ada

Labour councillor Dave Rowntree, who proposed live streaming for meetings last year Photo :Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

County councillors will soon be joining the likes of Jaack Maate, Tanya Burr and Ashen as local stars of YouTube, after live streaming proposals were given the thumbs up.

The chamber at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Dan Grimmer

The chamber at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Dan Grimmer - Credit: Archant

The proposals will see members of the public able to watch all the twists and turns of the council chamber from the comfort of their own homes, with certain meetings to be broadcast on the streaming website.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Norfolk County Council's digital innovation committee discussed different ways the service could be offered, before opting to make use of the popular platform.

The plans will see full meetings broadcast live from the council chamber, along with cabinet meetings once County Hall adopts this way of working in May - the same month the service is set to be launched.

Currently, the council does offer up audio recordings of meetings, although bosses admitted that 'nearly nobody' makes use of this footage.

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Live streaming of meetings is something that has been rolled out among a number of councils nationwide, with Labour councillor David Rowntree floating the idea at full council last year - but his motion was voted down.

Mr Rowntree, who sits on the committee, said: 'I think it is a great idea and I'm amazed nobody suggested it before.'

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Mr Rowntree asked officers how regularly the audio is used, to which Simon George, finance director, said: 'Nearly nobody uses the audio and I imagine very few people would watch it, but I think the sums are about right.'

Infrastructure to provide the service is likely to cost between £10,000 and £20,000, although if it is judged to be a success there would be the option for the council to invest more to improve quality.

Thomas Smith, Conservative councillor, said: 'One concern I do have is that we will have to all be more careful about where we place things in front of us, in case confidential papers can be seen on the cameras.

'I can also see us end up being edited and remixed into rap music videos.'

Tom Fitzpatrick, chairman of the committee, joked that he 'did not expect the broadcasts to rival Eastenders in the ratings'.

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