South Tyneside – Attend a council meeting – from the comfort of your living room

On Thursday, you can pop along to South Tyneside’s council meeting – without even leaving the house.

Under new guidance from the Local Government Secretary, any member of the press and public can now film and digitally report public local government meetings.

South Tyneside Council is taking things a step further by filming Full Council meetings from September 4, and posting them on the authority website.

Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “I am proud to say that South Tyneside is embracing the opportunity of communicating our valuable work to the electorate in this new digital age.

“In addition to welcoming people into the Council Chamber, we are taking things a stage further by making local government even more accessible to even more people who will be able to watch the footage on their own devices.”

South Tyneside council has already been showcased as a ‘Beacon Council’ for its approach to involving the local community, and has been commended by the Municipal Journal for Excellence in Democratic Services with particular praise for proactively engaging with the local community.

And the council’s website has been highlighted by Industry Standard, Socitm, as amongst the best Local Government websites in the country for its ease of use and wealth of information.

Chiefs hope that posting the meetings on their website – www.southtyneside/info – will stand as an example of greater transparency of the democratic practice.

The authority is also reviewing how councillors use technology to communicate with residents.

Coun Malcolm added: “New technology is also changing the way our democratic processes operate.

“The growth of social media, instant communication via email and text messaging means that the protocols for elected members which the council currently has in place, will be reviewed.”

The final report will be published on the council’s website later in the year.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  29 Aug 2014

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