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If a parish council records its meetings elctronically, are the public entitled to a copy of that recording?

0 votes
The parish council routinely records it council meetings. A member of the public wishes to access a copy of the recording of all, or a relevant part of the meeting. Does the PC have to provide this?
asked by (140 points)

4 Answers

0 votes

I think the answer is yes but you may have to ask for it via the Freedom of Information act 2000 and accept it on a memory stick or DVD The PC may charge you for the time taken to copy a recording on to such media.

See https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1621/the-right-to-recorded-information-and-requests-for-documents.pdf

Dealing with requests for something other than a document
45.Most authorities hold material that isn’t in the form of a document
.
For example
CCTV footage, photographs and training videos.
46.An authority should treat a request for material that is not held in document form in exactly the same manner as a request for
a document; the authority has the same duty to communicate a true and accurate copy of the information to the requester.
47.
However, the nature of such material means it will probably be impossible to communicate the information in anything other
than its original form. For instance, it is hard to envisage how an authority could accurately convey all the visual information
in a CCTV recording or photograph in words.
48.
It is therefore likely that the only feasible way to communicate the information is to provide copies of the original material
answered by (10.6k points)
0 votes

The Transparency Code hasn't caught up with this yet, referring specifically to:-

"Minutes, agendas and meeting papers of formal meetings..."

However, as Graeme has pointed out, the ICO appears to have a clear view on this, so it would be pointless to deny access and compel the applicant to submit an FOI request.

answered by (15.9k points)
0 votes
Of  course the PC does not have to keep the recording. It can just delete it once it has been used to prepare the minutes which do not have to be a verbatim account of proceedings. Any member of the public  can record proceedings either in sound or vision unless of course the PC is in a closed session.
answered by (260 points)
"Any member of the public  can record proceedings either in sound or vision unless of course the PC is in a closed session." What is the situation for  a member of the Council recording Audio or come to that video, for their own records. We currently have a working party looking into all manner of media creation as well as meetings and Sub-Coms
When I say any member of the public can record a meeting in sound or video I mean that it is not illegal. However the PC can change it's standing orders to preclude this though it is nigh on impossible to stop sound recording. But don't take my word for it. I think the National Association of Local Councils have guidelines and they are ahead of legislation which is slower to catch up. Our clerk records the meetings for writing up the draft minutes and then deletes as minutes generally just have the key stuff like resolutions and decisions. Thus avoiding Freedom of Information issues.
We did have an issue recently when a councillor had to leave the room as they had a planning issue being discussed and they left their phone on the table.....and they were a bit miffed when they were told to take it with them. Technically I suppose a councillor could record sound for their own records though as they are a councillor they might be subject to the FoI. Vision would be more difficult for obvious reasons. I would suggest rewriting your standing orders  or asking the District Council for advice on how they do it. Of course the press can come in and record or film but there are some restrictions. NALC is very good on this as I said earlier. As far as possible I think the inclination should be for a PC to be open as far as possible. With smart phones it is possible to broadcast to the outside which could be a problem if the council was in a closed session discussing something confidential like financial issues. It is a Pandora's box! Have fun....
0 votes
If you attended the meeting and the recording also identifies you then this information would also constitute personal data relating to you.  As a result, you can obtain a copy of the recording containing your personal data by submitting a Subject Access Request, under Article 15 of the GDPR, to the Parish Council.
answered by (1.5k points)
edited by

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