What started years ago with the TV cameras following the internal workings of Lewisham in the BBC programme "Town Hall" in 1992 has spawned a sequel. With frequent outbursts from members of one particular group, regular votes to go home before we've finished working through the business of the agenda from another, and a common tut-tutting across the chamber when one group chooses to allow its members to make its own decisions, it's guaranteed to be a real ratings hit.
Last night, Lewisham Council agreed that it should look into finding ways of webcasting meetings and providing podcasts for later consumption at little additional cost using modern technology.
Of course this should open up the opportunity for local blogs, websites, news sites etc to see much more how business is done, what's happening and hold their local councillors to account.
Here's the text of the amended motion:
Believes webcasting or podcasting would strengthen equality, access and open democracy by making meetings more accessible for residents with disabilities, residents who are unwell and residents whose family, caring or work responsibilities make attendance impossible;
Notes that webcasting or podcasting of council meetings is increasingly used by other local authorities and that Lewisham Council is developing a new web platform which has the capability for webcasting or podcasting;
Calls for the webcasting or podcasting and archiving of full council meetings to be introduced in Lewisham, as well as of planning committee meetings and Mayor & Cabinet meetings where feasible; and
Calls on the Mayor to commission a report setting out a comparison with other authorities experience, and the costs and, where these are reasonable, a timetable for implementation”.