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SCC meetings to be broadcast: Online streaming to be introduced imminently

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Photo by Tim Green (Wikimedia Commons)

After years of discussion between rival political groups, meetings of Sheffield City Council will finally be broadcast online within the next few months.

Only a tiny proportion of Sheffield residents currently have access to full council meetings by watching from the Town Hall's public gallery.

The current communications system in the council chamber is being replaced by a modern system that will include broadcasting, as well as new audio and voting technology for councillors.

Now Then understands that the system is fully set up and was originally planned to be in use at the next meeting of full council on 3 April, but is now expected to be introduced at the Council's AGM on 15 May.

According to Green councillor Douglas Johnson, the broadcasts "could transform the way Council meetings are seen and recorded, as well as improving standards of behaviour at Council."

Events in the House of Commons have been broadcast since 1989 and in the House of Lords since 1985.

When an item on the agenda is controversial and campaigners get active, the public gallery can be overflowing and many struggle to witness the proceedings

Meetings of full council are held on Wednesdays at 2pm, meaning they're often inaccessible to anybody who works regular office hours.

At April's meeting, councillors will debate motions on child poverty, Brexit and cladding on tower blocks.

Active citizen Nigel Slack first called for council meetings to be broadcast in issue 66 of Now Then, published in September 2013.

"When an item on the agenda is controversial and campaigners get active, the public gallery can be overflowing and many struggle to witness the proceedings," wrote Slack.

For years Green councillors have also called for meetings to be broadcast, as they are at nearby Rotherham and Doncaster councils.

Council leader Julie Dore agreed with the idea in 2013, but said that it was difficult to justify the cost during a period of shrinking Council budgets.

Sam Gregory

Nigel Slack on webcasting in Now Then 66

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