A NUMBER of councillors have hit out at Vale of Glamorgan Council over the possibility of fewer council meetings being live broadcast in the future.
Vale of Glamorgan Council has been live broadcasting all of its meetings, apart from confidential matters, since 2021 after Welsh Government legislation was brought in to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on local authorities.
However under recent statutory guidance published by the Welsh Government councils are advised to develop their multi–location meetings arrangements in a way that is right for them.
The council is now proposing to only live broadcast some of its council meetings.
One councillor suggested that the authority seems to be “cutting out the public left, right, and centre” by proposing to change the number meetings it broadcasts live as a result of this proposed change.
At a Vale of Glamorgan Council democratic services committee meeting on Monday, July 17, Cllr Kevin Mahoney said: “Surely we should be live-streaming every single meeting that was previously open to the public in by gone years.”
Another member of the committee, Cllr Ewan Goodjohn, called for the council to continue its live broadcasting of scrutiny meetings.
Cllr Neil Thomas agreed with his colleague, adding: “I think that access to meetings for members of the public and our residents is important and people occasionally, on the spur of the moment, decide that they would like to see what is going on.”
Vale of Glamorgan Council officers who were present at the meeting said that members of the public would be involved in helping the local authority decide which meetings continue to be broadcast live.
They added that many meetings currently have low audience figures and that continuing to live broadcast all meetings would have a significant impact on the council’s resources.
Vale of Glamorgan Council’s head of legal services, Debbie Marles, said: “What we have been seeing over the past year or so is a significant strain on a small pool of staff.
“As monitoring officer… I am concious that the council has contractual arrangements in place with staff and… the concern is, as is referenced in the report, that if we were do go beyond the point which is recommended we would need to consider additional resources.”
The committee’s chair, Cllr Ian Johnson, echoed the sentiments of his fellow committee members and called for scrutiny meetings to be included in the council’s list of hybrid meetings going forward.
The council’s cabinet members will make a decision on the local authority’s revised multi-location meeting policy at a meeting onThursday, July 20.