Council to broadcast more decisions made about city

The City of Edinburgh Council has revealed plans to broadcast more of its committees, meetings and decision-making live online.

The decision comes days after the declaration of the Independence Referendum which was aired live from Edinburgh and watched around the world.

The latest developments mean that the Council’s webcasting service - which currently airs four committee meetings - will expand to add nine more meetings to the list following the installation of cameras and microphones in the Dean of Guild Court Room at the City Chambers. 

The latest meetings to be added will cover key decisions on topics of interest to the public, including changes to sporting facilities, health initiatives, and arts and cultural events that take place in the city.

From decisions on town planning and Edinburgh’s roads, to changes to local bin collections, parks and libraries; citizens will be able to tune in to decisions that affect them and their communities.

Approved at Full Council last October, where a report showed a positive reaction to existing webcasting from the Edinburgh public, the move follows a wave of interest in local democracy and decision making in Scotland, which saw 84.4 per cent of Edinburgh residents on the electoral roll turn out to vote in the Independence Referendum.

The RT Hon Lord Provost, Councillor Donald Wilson said: “As the turnout to vote on Thursday showed all of us, people in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland and more engaged and excited about politics and democracy than they have been in a long time. Over 84 per cent of the people in Edinburgh who were registered to vote did so last week, which demonstrates a real appetite for people to engage in the issues that affect them directly. 

“That is why it is essential that we, the Council, enable the public to scrutinise and engage with local decisions, and webcasting more meetings will give people direct access to this process.

“This is one of a number of initiatives to promote openness and transparency throughout the Council. For example, we are also piloting e-voting by councillors as Andrew Burns revealed just this month, which will give greater transparency as to how councillors vote on key decisions.”

The £81,000 webcasting scheme will see a full audio-visual upgrade of the Dean of Guild Court Room, as well as improved facilities for the hard of hearing.

Webcasting Council committee meetings is hoped to raise awareness of the local democratic process, improving transparency, understanding and accountability of local decision-making, as well as making meetings as accessible as possible. Webcasts are archived and available for five years after the meeting on the webcast website.

The first meeting to be webcast using the new equipment will be the Communities and Neighbourhoods committee at 10am today (Tuesday 23 September).

Members of the public can register to receive alerts detailing the agenda of the meetings which are available to view online six days in advance on the Council website.

More information on webcasting can also be found on the Council website and on Twitter by following the hashtag #edinwebcast.

The existing webcasting service currently allows internet users to watch Full Council, Governance, Risk and Best Value and Petitions Committee meetings.

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