Cameras and microphones can be scary things (it appears) for some Members, and the Council still has to formulate a policy on what it's going to do with journalists, students, bloggers and others who want not only to attend meetings but also report, comment and share what happens with audiences and varied communities of interest.
To be fully informed residents need to know not only the decisions reached, but also the discussion that leads to these conclusions. More than ever Members bear heavy responsibility for representing residents, businesses and institutions, and we believe they should be both seen and heard making those representations.
A typical smartphone is capable of recording audio and video to broadcast standards, subject to the skill of the operator. The internet allows interaction with residents and service users, real time discussion and sharing of information which can only be enhanced by the inclusion of extracts from debate and scrutiny.
With regards to issues of balance and impartiality any use of material in any radio or TV outlet regulated by OFCOM (which includes many web-TV operations) is already covered by the provisions of the relevant OFCOM codes.
Allowing video recording would also further the Council's wider aim to improve engagement with citizens. We are sure you are very well aware of the increased need to engage citizens in the work of the Council and to encourage people to have a better understanding of what the Council does. Allowing both video and audio recordings is more likely to allow this.
In summary we believe allowing the recording of audio and video in Leeds City Council meetings has huge potential benefits for Members, for our students and for the wider Leeds community. By throwing light on the proceedings of Council it should make these proceedings more transparent and relevant for residents and thereby encourage greater participation in elections, in consultations and in the democratic process. We urge all Members to offer their support to this.