Friday, 27 February 2009

EAST KENT TORIES AGAINST OPENNESS

Following my report on Thanet Tories opposing broadcasting of Council meetings, Canterbury Conservatives are also not keen on opening themselves up to greater scrutiny. Phil from Herne Bay reports here that attempts to broadcast meetings were voted down. He is offering to fund broadcast coverage himself. Good idea. I will put a tenner in for Thanet, anyone else prepared to?

If Thanet Council won't broadcast Council meetings could we get some volunteers to film the meetings?



6 comments:

  1. Simon 20th February you wrote:

    "Now extrapolate that as bandwidth in and out of the council offices and you'll realise that live webcasting invariably comes with a hefty bandwidth bill. So the simple choice is do you want your council meetings televised and if you do are you happy to pay for it or see one of the other council services cut-back to finance it. At this time in our history, I believe we have more urgent priorities to spend our dwindling budget on."

    that is opposition Simon, I am glad I have persuaded you to change your mind in one week.

    B) Yes I had a work commitment yesterday evening and had to stay overnight in London, thank you for the advice.

    c) An efficient Council would have also emailed announcements like the one you describe.

    If Thanet Tories were not opposed why did they not do it previously when asked by me? Answer because they were opposed. Coverage in the local press and overwhelming public opinion has meant a change of mind. Good, but it shows how out of touch with public opinion yourself and your colleagues were.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chaps I have offerd to host this and pay the bill, they only need to send me the disks the are already making, this is not a party political issue.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Michael, there are two different conversations running here. The principal one involved webcasting and sadly, Cllr Nottingham's poor grasp of the technology requirements have led him off on a tangent. I would remind Cllr Nottingham that I was one of the seven original people bought into the Cabinet Office to help deliver on Tony Blair's 1998 UK Online 'Vision' and so I suspect I know rather more than most about the benefits of eGovernment!

    When I became I councillor two years ago in Thanet, I did explore the webcasting option (the technology has moed on a bit since then) but the costs made it impractical. There is no resistance that I have encountered to the idea within the Conseervative group, we simply have to spend our money more wisely at present. However, the consitutional working party will explore the matter, thanks to Cllr Nottingham resurrecting the matter. How much money should we spend do you think?

    Recording is another matter which will I suspecy be expored by the same working party andthankfully large amounts of data can now be recorded quite cheaply. Mind you two hours of video is a very big file indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The solution is quite simple even for Simon, as tax payers we have paid for facilities of Kent TV surely they would not have a problem with this being uploaded on to their system.

    We have paid for it, I would like kent tv to be used for something other than sending me threats to sue on behalf of a Tory lead council.

    As a tax payer I along with everyone else have had to endure such classics as bob geldof telling us how marvellous "this thing" (kent tv) is after one year.

    Copy these meetings on to dvd and ask bob to play the damn thing! End of story!

    Unless of coarse I'm right about Kent TV is as most people seem to agree with me, that being its a waste of money etc!

    I think Simon is talking tosh!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think live streaming is clouding the issue here, which is expensive and the council are not geared up for.

    For most of us it would be much more useful to be able to see the council meetings when it is convenient, and frankly as it takes the council the best part of a month to publish the minutes on the internet, waiting a couple of hours for them to be uploaded or a couple of days to be sent by post or pigeon to Kent TV seems adequate to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Michael
    You are right we need more immediacy and responsiveness, Simon is sadly complacent, patronising and defensive on these issues.
    It is a Party issue because I have raised this issue since election in 2007 and it has always been opposed by the Conservative majority. That's sad but true.

    In the end it has taken my live blog and newspaper coverage to get the matter addressed, if I had just raised the issue again it would have been refused regrettably.

    Simon's kowledge is historical and not up to date. At the Conference I attended yesterday it was effectively covered on Twitter, use #Labour 2.0 to search for dozens of tweets. Yet Simon has stated he opposes this modern use of technology, as do Thanet Tories.

    This just means that people think that the Conservative councillors have something to hide. Some do, some don't, it would be nice if Simon could unequivocally come on to the side of openness rather than wasting time addressing meaningless issues such as whether councillors should wear ties in the Council Chamber or not.

    On cost there is plenty of money it just is not spent very well at present. See my other posts for examples.

    Mike Harrison has usefully said:

    "Before Labour were removed from office in 2003 we had spent a lot of money in having webcams installed along with an electronic voting system. Despite pressure from members of the public and Councillors we still have not got round to broadcasting our Council meetings. As for the electronic voting system it was used once after the 2003 election for the budget vote, that was a complete disaster as the vote to adopt the budget had to be decided by the Chairman's casting vote.

    And don't even mention how long it took for us to get an email facillity, even now over 50% of Thanet Councillors don't use it!
    The word Luddite comes to mind."

    All Labour councillors welcome and want to use new technology at the Council, Simon is conducting a rearguard operation defending the Luddites.

    ReplyDelete