Follow us on Twitter

Standing Orders and recording

0 votes
Should parish council standing orders state whether a council records its meetings, what the recordings intended use is and how long it will be kept for?
asked by (240 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
It doesn't have to but it can. If the pc is recording, it's good practice to read out a statement to that effect at the start so the members of the public in attendance know it is happening and why.
answered by (16.8k points)
Thank you, my understanding is that any recording should be deleted once the minutes of that meeting have been approved? And that they should not be kept for in perpetuity?
The Council can determine its retention period (in line with a data retention policy).  Some clerks for whatever reason seem particularly keen to loose records of meeting quite quickly.  Personally yet to come across a compelling reason to delete a record that frankly could prove vital piece of evidence in future.
It is still the case that minutes are the legal record of the meeting and Clerks are advised to delete their notes / recording from which they write the minutes if that is why they are in existence.  I suppose that the reasoning for this is that a standing agenda item is to approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting as per the Local Government Act 1972.  It is difficult to sign and approve a recording within a meeting, I suppose.  That said, I believe that  meetings should be broadcasted or available to view if they are recorded.
In our case are three tiers of Local Government paid for out of the same precept
Both County and Borough record, retain and make publicly available all the recordings of all meetings plus livestream major meetings

So I don’t see why the Parish tier doesn’t at least record and publish all meetings
On top of the benefit of recording everything that was said for audit purposes in my experience recording meetings also keeps participants in check

I also believe the whole of  meetings should be recorded including where the public are excluded but obviously the recording wouldn’t be released

This is because often the power of exclusion is frequently used improperly to cover up maladministration
Jules, there are many parish councils that meet in village halls, the wifi is shonky or non-existent and the precept is so small that to purchase the AV equipment required would be a considerable % increase on the precept.  Plus if they only meet 4 times a year, then the investment is perhaps considered to be not required (especially if the parish has less than 500 residents, for example).

The high tiers have council buildings and council chambers which are easier to set up and perhaps better designed for broadcast.
I agree with Jules in that there is no earthly reason why PC meetings should not be recorded and archived for future reference with modern recording and storage facilities. Peoples memories and heavily precised minutes ( just showing the end results of discussions and not the detail who made what points) do not make for accurate representation of what takes place in a meeting. This flies in the face of the requirement for openness and transparency placed on councils & councillors. The quick removal of notes etc. is in fact a fiction passed on to clerks from the likes of NALC and their local offices and designed for god knows what end. ( suggestions on a postcard!)
I use an iPhone and it makes a perfectly good recording in a page room with 20 plus people
Our Borough Council also use an iPhone if we use rooms without recording facilities
Fair enough but for the public record a couple of months or years on, could you identify who was speaking, who was attending (and didn't speak), who the softly spoken person at the back of the room was and what was said in the scramble of interruptions?  Recording to aid minutes is one thing but to keep a permanent record is another.  I agree that meetings should be broadcasted and my council are looking into that along with hybrid meetings where MOP can attend virtually. But not all councils are that tech-savvy and some councils don't want to change (councillors or clerks).
Of course if the chair is conducting the meeting correctly it would be known who was speaking as the chair would call on the councillor by name to speak or if from the floor have the person identify themselves.  Another point would be that as everyone these days shouts" bullying" so easily then a recording would allow such matters to be investigated on what was said not what someone assumed.
Exactly, during a complaint my recordings helped to prove that the minutes showed exactly the opposite of what I said
On another occasion two Councillors at a latter meeting claimed I’d said something I hadn’t which I could again disprove
0 votes
Yes to all three. If recordings are made SO's should also specify whether audio or video and how they are stored (server, SD card, portable hard drive the "cloud" etc), how they can be made availble to view or listen to,  and what back up arrangements are in place.
answered by (24.4k points)

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Google Analytics Alternative