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Recording of our minutes

0 votes
Good morning

We now record our meetings  to assist our new clerk with preparing minutes.   It is not visually recording , we just use a small ma recording device  Once our minutes are agreed and signed am I correct that we should then delete.

Comments please
asked by (890 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Best answer
There is no obligation to delete the recordings, but if you retain them. they could be the subject of FOI requests and you would need to be able to provide copies of them to requestors, or make tehm availble to download.
answered by (22.4k points)
selected by
If available on the website then FOI requests would become null and void. It is basically that organisations do not comply with their duty of openness and transparency in their operation that make FOI necessary.
+3 votes
Firstly as a long time advocate of recording(audio) PC meetings to ensure accuracy and checking of minutes I congratulate your council. It has been suggested that once the written minutes are produced and accepted by council then there is no need to retain the recorded version. This smacks of the NALC "tidy up to the bare minimum of information" indoctrination of clerks trained by them.

With modern recording equipment and quality there is no reason why a recording cannot be kept as a permanent record of meetings and made available to anyone who requests a copy or on the website. Unfortunately to some with the mindset of secrecy and avoiding accountability, which infects a lot of our councils, checks and balances afforded by recording of meetings accurately is somehow not desirable.

So much background discussion never makes it to NALC designed " decision only minutes" that the public never get the complete story of decision making.

So, why not keep them?
answered by (8.9k points)
Once again I agree 100% with Mentorman not  only should recordings be retained they should be posted on the website and the minutes should show the time each item was discussed for easy reference
As I’ve mentioned before I've recently been subject to a member conduct panel and one thing that saved my bacon was that I personally record all meetings and I would advise all Councillors to do the same
It’s amazing how well a smartphone can record a meeting
Definitely record your own whether that be as a member of the public or a Cllr.
Too much is hidden from sight and scrutiny
Let’s face it how many other organisations / sectors do you know that believe there’s no need to keep a full audit trail as to how decisions are made
0 votes
There are no rules regarding the retention or deletion of recordings. The important aspect is that your council must have a policy for this and comply with the policy. I'm a fan of the deletion option, as it prevents endless nitpicking by members of the public over who said what and what did they mean etc. An audio recording doesn't provide a meaningful record of the meeting for an outsider, as you cannot tell who is speaking, it is difficult to cross-reference to paperwork and fails to record who voted for or against motions.

Until the law changes (which it may do in the not-too-distant future), we are required to keep a written record of the proceedings and that is all.
answered by (32.8k points)
If an audio recording doesn’t provide a meaningful record of the meeting for an outsider,, then a set of skeleton minutes certainly doesn’t.
The 2 combined are better than minutes alone and audio/video is the gold standard.
Can’t understand how anyone would seek to argue it any other way....

Well, actually, I can.
Some interesting points...
You suggest a change in the law may happen.  I'd like to know more about how this is progressing.  Is there a relevant report or news-item somewhere that you know of that I can read?
This is not something that is going to happen in the current parliament, but it is widely acknowledged that local government legislation is long overdue for a complete rewrite. Alongsidethis sits the ongoing debate about local government reorganisation. Legislation always struggles to keep up with societal changes and the 1972 Act, even with all the subsequent additions and modifications, leaves so many grey areas. Many of our discussions on this forum end with a statement along the lines of "that's probably legal/illegal, but there's no specific legislation, so it would have to be tested in the courts." Change will happen, but don't hold your breath.
Thanks!  That's actually really helpful
0 votes
normally the reason for deleting the recording is the amount of storage it takes up. When we recorded our meeting via zoom it was not long before extra storage was required.

Many clerks cover several parishes and although not recommended used IT devices that are shared.

If you wish to store your recordings I recommend the Parish Council seek IT advice as the best way to go about it so it is not a costly exercise.
answered by (4.7k points)

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