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07 March 2017

Success of webcasting meetings to be reviewed

Thousands tuned in to watch important council meetings throughout 2016, with figures to be discussed by members of Wrexham Council later this week.

Wrexham County Borough Council’s webcasting service drew hundreds of views last year.

A report detailing the figures for last year’s webcasts will be discussed by the Democratic Services Committee on Thursday.

Webcasting allows members of the public to follow meetings live online, and to play back recorded meetings via an archive service.

The Council broadcast its first live meeting in August 2014.

All meetings of the full Council, Executive Board and Planning Committee are webcast, and in April 2016, a 12-month pilot was commissioned to allow up to five meetings of Scrutiny Committees to also be webcast, with a maximum of 10 hours of webcast time provided.

As well as reviewing the current position with respect to webcasting, members will also be invited to discuss extending the webcasting of Scrutiny Committees from April 2017 to March 2018.

From January 2016 to December 2016:

The average amount of viewings for all webcast meetings also increased from equivalent figures in 2015.

Councils are not legally required to webcast meetings, although it is strongly supported by Welsh Government and is linked to goals in the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 to strengthen local democracy and encourage public participation.

Cllr Carole O’Toole, Chair of the Democratic Services Committee, said: “Given the number of webcast viewings – both live and archived – across a range of meetings, we know that the webcasting service is very much of interest to the public, and its success is integral to continued transparency, public engagement and local democracy.

“We also know that the pilot, which allowed 10 hours of webcasting time for meetings of Scrutiny Committees, helped to open Scrutiny meetings to the public and this will also be discussed.

“I look forward to the discussion and await what members have to say with interest.”

The Democratic Services Committee will meet at the Guildhall from 2pm on Thursday, March 9.