Cameras set to roll at council meetings

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LIGHTS, camera, action! A formal policy is to be adopted on allowing members of the public to film Ashfield District Council proceedings — after a man with a camera was confronted by a Hucknall councillor at a previous meeting.

Councillors approved recommendations to allow audio recording of meetings and a protocol that would allow members of the public to film meetings subject to them gaining permission in advance.

The move comes after disruption was caused to the meeting held on Thursday December 8 when a member of the public was caught filming proceedings without permission.

He had asked if he could film the meeting just before it started, but his request had been refused. He was confronted by Coun Chris Baron (Lab), pictured, of Hucknall.

The meeting was adjourned and the man was asked to stop filming and to erase the recorded material. But he refused to do so and police were called.

Coun Baron, lead member for customer and corporate services, said: “We as a council have to ensure that the policy deals with future requests to film or record at council or committee meetings in an open manner, while still allowing the council’s decision-making process to operate efficiently and effectively.”

The meeting at which the go-ahead for the new policy was given was actually being recorded after prior consent was given to a member of the public.

Questions about the events of December 8 were also asked at the meeting by Kirkby resident Andrew Chipperfield-Taylor.

He said that the council had banned the recording of that meeting without enquiring as to whether there was a reason under the Equality Act as to why the person wanted to film it.

“Why did the council fail to establish the requirements of the individual under the Equality Act and the intention of the individual to record at that meeting?” he said.

Coun John Knight (Lab), leader of the council, said that Mr Chipperfield-Taylor was ‘quite correct’ that the council had had no formal policy on allowing filming and a full response to his questions would be given in writing.

“We thank you and other members of the public for pointing out this oversight,” Coun Knight told Mr Chipperfield-Taylor.