Broadcasting & Use Of Social Media At Meetings

(A pdf version of this policy is available for download here)

Broadcasting, Filming or Recording of Council Meetings Policy

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council welcomes members of the public and press at all of its meetings – Members are keen to encourage community involvement in the work of the parish council.

This policy details the rules for effective management of broadcasting, filming or recording of the meetings held by St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council.

The right to broadcast, film and record meetings of St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council meetings, its committees, sub committees and any joint committees is established under the Openness of Local Government Regulations 2014. This is in addition to the rights of the press and public to attend such meetings

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council is committed to being open and transparent in the way it conducts its decision making. For the purpose of this policy, the term “record” means to film, photograph, make an audio recording of meeting proceedings, use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear the meeting as it takes place or later or to report or to provide oral or written commentary about the meeting so that the report or commentary is available as the meeting takes place or later to persons not present.

A person present at a meeting may not provide an oral report or oral  commentary about a meeting as it takes place without permission.

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council understands that some members of the public attending its meetings may not wish to be recorded and the Chairman of the meeting will attempt to facilitate this by ensuring that any such request will be respected by those making a recording. Any member of the public who does not wish to be recorded should make this known to the Clerk prior to the commencement of the meeting.

A copy of this policy rules will be available on the Parish Council website or from the Clerk. The Chairman will also verbally remind the meeting and all present of the freedom to record but these rules are in place to enable any type of recording to take place with minimal disruption to the council meeting.

Any person wishing to record a meeting in any format whatsoever is encouraged (but not compelled) to contact the Clerk prior to the start of the meeting. The Clerk’s details are set out on agenda of the meeting and within this policy. Discussing requirements with the Clerk beforehand will help ensure that the council provides reasonable facilities to meet the needs of the person that is recording.

The person making the recording may move around, however, in doing so she/he must ensure that there is minimal disruption to the proceedings of the meeting.

Where the press and public are excluded from a meeting or part of a meeting owing to the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, recording of that meeting or that part of the meeting will not be permitted. If a person refuses to stop recording, the Chairman will treat the matter as disruptive behaviour and take the necessary action in accordance with Standing Orders.

The specific filming of children or young people under the age of 13 who are present at the meeting cannot take place unless their parents/guardians have given their written consent. If the child or young person is aged between 13 and 18, written consent must be gained from the individual. This provision also applies to vulnerable adults, whereby the consent of a responsible adult is required for recording, i.e. a medical professional, carer or legal guardian. Where permission is given, filming of these people can take place.

The Council requests that all recording is clearly visible to anyone at  the meeting but cannot compel those who are recording to do so.

The use of digital and social media recording tools, for example Facebook, blogging or audio recording are allowed as long as this type of recording is carried out in a non-disruptive way and only to the extent that it does not interfere with any person’s ability, even where he or she has a disability, to follow the debate.

A person or persons making a recording has no right to interrupt the meeting by asking questions or making comments. The person recording has no right to ask councillors, officers or any members of the public who have been given permission to contribute orally to the meeting to repeat a statement for the purposes of the recording.

The Chairman of the meeting, or any such Council representative as designated by the Chairman, has the authority to stop a meeting and take appropriate action if any person contravenes these principles or is deemed to be recording in a disruptive manner.
Persons who are recording are requested not to leave equipment unattended where possible and are responsible for their equipment at all times.

The recording and reporting on meetings of St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council is subject to the law and it is the responsibility of those doing the recording and reporting to ensure compliance. This will include the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act and the laws of libel and defamation.

The Council expects that the recording should not be edited in a way that could lead to misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the proceedings or infringement of the Parish Council’s values or in a way that ridicules or shows a lack of respect for those in the recording. St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council would expect any recording in breach of these rules to be removed from public view.

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council will have no liability for material published by any other person unless it is itself undertaking the publication through its offices.

For the benefit of those who wish to record – where the recording device being used involves equipment which is larger than a smart phone, tablet or compact camera or if the person recording has other special requirements she/he is requested to please contact the Clerk prior to the meeting so that reasonable arrangements can be made.

The use of lighting for filming/flash photography will usually be allowed provided it does not adversely impact on the ability of others present to view the meeting, or for reasons of health, where the council may require that such lighting is not used or is reduced to a level which does not adversely affect other people. The lighting must not cause any other form of disruption.

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council may itself photograph, film, record or broadcast meetings and can retain, use or dispose of such material in accordance with its retention and disposal of data policies.

Councillors who choose to broadcast via social media during Council meetings must refrain from disrupting other Councillors and the debate.

Councillors who choose to record, film or broadcast meetings including the use of social media are reminded of their responsibilities under the Council’s Code of Conduct including the confidentiality requirements.

St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council is not liable for the actions of any person making a recording at a council meeting which identifies a member of the public or for any publication of that recording.

The minutes of a council meeting remain the statutory and legally binding formal record of council decisions.

[Adopted by Full Council at the meeting held on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 under minute number FPC64/21. Due for review in 2024]