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Can anyone including a council member record a virtual zoom meeting

0 votes
Over the last few months, the PC have been holding zoom meetings, which I have attended as a counsellor and I’ve always asked the host (chairman) if I can record the meeting with know problem.

Last night we held a PC meeting, I asked to record the meeting, the reply was no you cannot and I will explain later.
So at the start of the meeting the chairman stated, that as no members of public want to attending the meeting night, and only councillors are in attendance, there will be no recordings of any meetings by council members, we have taken advice from Nalc over this, and they say that if no member of the public attends a Virtual meeting no counsellor has the right to record the meeting, I find this very hard to believe to be quite  honest, knowing that all council’s or supposed to promote transparency, the freedom of information act, and encouraging members of the public to attend the meetings etc. (I only record it for my own benefit, I wouldn’t dream of putting it in the public domain anyway) The reason for recording is because on several occasions in the past, I’ve been verbally abused by other counsellors,

I have looked at the Nalc virtual meeting guide booklet with regards to the recording of meetings and it seems a bit vague therefore open for interpretation,I believe.
One other little issue, we have member of the council who is the secretary and treasurer of the local football club, her son is also manager of the  club as well, Would I be correct in saying, if anything came up in the minutes or on the agenda to do with the football club she must declare an interest, therefore not take part in any voting regarding matters to do with the football club?

I really would like some sort the legal clarification on both of these matters, to be able to go back to the chairman with, (ie something in LGA1972 or some sort of government legislations from somewhere)

Many thanks for taking the time to read this article, I look forward to any response.
asked by (400 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Yes. All meetings can be recorded just not any confidential section.
When they're recorded it's known on Zoom.
It's not a problem in my mind.
If the NALC advise is accurate then a Councillor in my Council is going against the advice, but then again, Its just "advice"

They should disclose an interest however it's always up to the Councillor if they do
answered by (4.6k points)
Thank you for Your reply, advise being the operative word, trouble is it gets taken quite literally as the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Nalc in my mind is like a trade union, what ever is said isn’t necessarily the law, as you say it’s just advice.
I really need to be able to quote Some sort of legislation, as and when I have a discussion with the chairman about this matter.
0 votes
Easiest way around this is to get someone you know to log in a record it, could be your partner, friend or relative.
answered by (5.4k points)
Thanks, lol, yes my other half and thought about that last night, mind you not sure if she can put up with all the unnecessary talking that seems to go on at a meeting, instead of dealing with the matter at hand.
We usually find when the public is in attendance we move things on a bit quicker haha. Give it a go.
+1 vote
Any zoom meeting can be recorded without the host's permission. Go to the zoom setup and allow for recording. Plenty of instructions on the old internet. You can use the button on the meeting page to record but of course the host can block that. Why would any PC deny anyone the ability to record taking into the legislation in place to allow it? Asking is just a courtesy.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of PC's who accept what NALC or their local office state as being "the Law" and blindly follow it unquestioningly but still shout "we make the decisions"

Declarations of interest are and always have been a question of the councillors integrity. This can leave it open to abuse by unprincipled councillors of course. The close recording of votes on matters is actually desirable to record who voted for what and also whether they declared an interest or abstained.All recorded should a question arise in the future.
answered by (8.1k points)
Umm, thank you for replying, I think that as you say, the host (chairman) will not hesitate in blocking the recording of meetings, it seems obvious to me that the chairman, clerk and a few of the other councils, don’t like the idea of somebody recording the meetings in video or audio formation, (I understand that the participants will be in their own homes and therefore wouldn’t want people to see what they have in their property for example) perhaps they are frightened of being caught out for saying something out of line, with regards to the code of conduct for example, are there any ground rules or difference between a video recording say and an audio recording? I’m sure that the clerk, chairman and some of other councillors have had a discussion amongst themselves about recording of meetings, deciding to contact Nalc for advice on the matter and as a result are saying no recording at meetings unless Members of the public are in attendance and even then it’s only the clerk that can record,
I know it’s  not right, that’s why I want some form of legal representation I can take back to them, (ie something from the local government act 1972 or government legislation) and be able to quote it to them, thereby they wouldn’t  have a leg to stand on.
Openness and transparent they are not in my mind, certain things go on behind closed doors are not all to see.
The declaration of interests may be another reason why they don’t want meeting is recorded?
Each Parish Council should have enshrined in their  code of conduct and standing orders the right to record meetings which was  part of the 2011 Localism Act which gave the right for members of the public the  to audio record, video, or tweet the proceedings. To not do so makes then guilty of non transparency and openness. The only line for the chair to object is if by doing any of those things the meeting would be disrupted. e,g setting up multiple cameras microphones and lighting. Hiding things away in secret is a contravention of this act which the PC must abide by.
Thanks once again, ok I understand what you are saying, this may be a stupid question, the public, press etc can record a public meeting, but can any councillor of the parish council taking part in this public meeting do the same and not be in the wrong for doing so? (Hope that makes sense)
Yes have the same rights as any members of the public as regards The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014
+1 vote
The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 is the legislation you need and that your chair needs to comply with. Either somebody is lying when they claim they have taken NALC advice on this or they lack the grammatical skills to understand it. The only way recording can be stopped is if the person recording the meeting does it in a way that obstructs the meeting e.g. constantly moving the camera about, walking in between Cllrs etc to get different angles for shooting.
answered by (21.2k points)
Thank you for your advice and help I really do appreciate it, with all the information you all have provided so far, I’m hoping to tackle this issue with the chairman by email. Once again I thank you all.
Was there a resolution to ratify the removal & was it replaced with a directive saying that filming was forbidden? If so your Cllrs have either been misled or are arguably guilty of collective maladministration.  The Monitoring Officer in your Principal Authority should be made aware of this.  It should also be reported to your external Auditor as a concern.
Thanks for reply, no resolutions to rarity has been made as far as I am aware, what happened Monday, I asked the chairman if I may record the zoom meeting, he said no I will explain at the start of the meeting, as he was the host and therefore had complete control over the zoom meeting, (the people who attended the Zoom meeting, who can recordings, remove people from the meeting completely, stop / Mute people from talking, the list goes on) So he started the meetings and said “ It has been brought to my attention over the last couple of days weeks about  recording’s, recording by the general public is aloud, how ever the Nalc advice at this time moment, if because there are no members of the public joining us, it would be suggested by Nalc, that the parish clerk only can record the meeting, but if any one objects to themselves being recorded, every time that person is on the screen, or every time that person talks, the camera has to be turned off, we must also have video recording policy, at this moment it time, we don’t have one of them, therefore to make sure every body is happy, we will not be recording any meetings until a policy is in place” his words exactly before the meeting one councillor question the chairman about if the council should be informed of recording and who can record? Yet again “I’ll make a statement at the start of the meeting” he said. Bearing in mind we’ve now had two extra ordinary meetings and one parish council meeting so far on Zoom since the lockdown, all but Monday’s Meeting I’ve asked to record and been allowed to, having said that at the previous meeting to Mondays some councillors were asking “I’ve got the word recording / record on my screen am I recording Mr chairman or is somebody else? Presumably by me recording these previous meetings it’s upset a few of the counsellors. So you see my dilemma,
Thinking about it, the regulations provide that anybody can attend and make their own recordings at a council meeting at the designate location in normal times. There is no obligation for a council to make it's own audio of video recording. If the meeting is streamed, and members of the public can view the stream, they and other member of the publics should be entitled to record the stream as it is the only way they can attend the meeting. If the council have the resources to stream the meeting into the public domain, to not do so amounts to preventing the public attendance. For the public, recording the stream amounts to making a video recording of the meetng. The council could claim that they own the recording, as they have purchased zoom, the means of facilitating the meeting.. But that isn't the same as recording on a camcorder and storing the video file. If they are streaming something into the public domain, that the public would be entitled to record in an actual room, I can't see how they can argue the room meeting can be recorded but the stream can not.

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