District agrees to record meetings for first time

Archant

Council meetings at Knowle will be recorded for the very first time after the idea was supported by its overview and scrutiny committee.

But the proposal will not come into force until May at the earliest after the district’s chief executive ruled the move was a constitutional change.

Mark Williams said the matter must go before a full council annual meeting before it can go ahead, the next one scheduled for May 23.

The move follows heated discussions over the past year about recording key debates over the future of the district, and a number of arguments over the accuracy of minutes.

At last Thursday’s meeting councillors discussed recommendations to use the existing audio system in the council chamber, which a report said would ‘provide high-quality audio recordings at a modest cost’.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) had previously said budgetary constraints and the high cost of purchasing recording equipment had made it impractical.

But after Councillor Ian Thomas, the communications portfolio holder, successfully completed a trial recording using the current microphone system it was deemed viable again.

If the initiative goes ahead full council, cabinet, planning, licensing and standards committee meetings amongst others would be recorded, and made available on EDDC’s website within seven days for people to listen again.

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