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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

FILMING PETERBOROUGH CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS > THE COUNCIL RESPONDS

We've just responded to the emails below:

Dear Kim, many thanks for your response. Much appreciated.

The Peterborough Tribune news blog has tackled this topic many times and as you will see from this link http://parkfarmneighbourhoodwatch.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=video,+roland, we even costed out a system for you, when it was claimed I think that some £60k would have to be spent and this was long before Alex Hill ever approached you.


 
Some of the points raised are frankly just lame excuses and do not in my humble opinion accord with public statements made by the coalition government. What on earth do the councillors have to hide? It is supposed to be a public meeting. The transmitted quality would be on a par with Sky TV /BBC TV News bulletins who use this type of transmission technology extensively and in very challenging circumstances.

As an example Modern Go-Pro type TV cameras are no bigger than a can of beans and all can be radio linked so no wires. Sound would be much better than the current PCC house system as it would have a compressor limiter on it to clarify the rough sound the council currently enjoys and the single technical operator who would mix the images could easily sit up in the public gallery or outside of the chamber. I'm happy to expand on this,

Kind regards

Julian Bray


-->
 
 
Dear Mr Bray


Thank you for your email. The Chief Executive, Gillian Beasley, has asked that I respond to your query below.


In your email you refer to the guidance published by Mr Eric Pickles MP, which I have attached to this email for reference. I believe there has been a misinterpretation of the guidance in this case, as this guidance was in relation to the filming of Executive Cabinet Meetings.


I have also attached a section of the Local Authorities Executive Arrangements (Meetings & Access to Information) England Regulations 2012 which are the new national rules referred to in the guidance written by Mr Eric Pickles MP. You will see that the right to film Council meetings refers only to:


a. The executive of a local authority

b. A committee of a local authority executive

c. A joint committee where all members of the joint committee are members of the local authority executive


This means that while there is a right to film meetings of the Council’s executive (the Cabinet) there is no general right to film Full Council or Annual Council meetings; permission to film these meetings is still required. That being said, the Council generally takes the view that permission to film is acceptable.


The Council did receive a request for permission to live stream the Annual Council meeting from Alex Hall. This request was received only a short time before the Annual Council meeting and therefore in that very busy period between elections and annual council. The Chief Executive did ask the Group Leaders their views on live broadcast of the meeting and generally, whilst there was consensus that the Council would like to broadcast its meetings, there were many practical issues to resolve in the short period available. 
 
These issues were considerations of where the cameras would be sighted, would they be obstructing the arrangements already made within the chamber for the large number of guests attending, what would the picture and sound quality be like, what use would be made of the film, what rights would the council have over the recording etc.

The Group Leaders therefore asked if we would consider these issues and report back on the potential for future broadcast of the meetings. Peterborough City Council has considered filming meetings on previous occasions but has always been previously deterred by cost. Being approached by Alex Hall has led to the Council to believe that the cost may have substantially reduced since the last occasion this was reviewed. A report detailing the costs of filming Council meetings will come back to Council at a later date, which will address the above issues.


I do hope this answers your first question clearly, but please let me know if you require any further information.


With regard to your comments on Councillor Hiller I can confirm that the recent court [Cllr Peter Hiller was found guilty of Criminal Damage, following a full Trial, Peter Hiller pleaded not Guilty had to pay costs, substantail fine and victim surcharge] case does not disqualify Councillor Hiller from remaining a member of the Council. The Local Government Act 1972 sets out when members are disqualified from standing or remaining as Councillors. As for his inclusion in the Cabinet, that is a matter for the Leader.


Kind regards,




Kim Sawyer

Director of Governance

Peterborough City Council


DD: 01733 452361

Fax: 01733 452524

Mob: 07961 240684


Peterborough City Council

Town Hall, Bridge Street

Peterborough PE1 1HG


DX 12310 Peterborough


Peterborough City Council Legal Services is Lexcel accredited.

For further Information on the Lexcel standard visit www.lawsociety.org.uk/lexcel
From: JULIANBRAY@aol.com [mailto:JULIANBRAY@aol.com]
Sent: 18 June 2014 23:39
To: Beasley Gillian; eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk; sally.chidzoy@bbc.co.uk; Cllr Fletcher Michael
Subject: Filming / recording Peterborough City Council Meetings
Dear Gillian Beasley,
Could I ask for your legal opinion ( you being at one time the Solicitor to the Peterborough City Council before securing the more lucrative position of Chief Executive of Peterborough City Council) I am told by several parties that you (they say) unlawfully blocked Alex Hall and Richard Taylor from video taping the Peterborough City Council council meeting on Monday and that the SERCO employed Beadle was instructed to ensure that it was done.
Please can you quote the legal authority for this in view of Minister Eric Pickles clear directive contained in a letter to you, and as we politically have a no overall control Peterborough City Council?
In addition can you please also explain how recently convicted criminal Conservative Cllr Peter Hiller who lied on Oath in Court during his recent Trial has been given a seat in the Cabinet, and a financial allowance scale that will more than cover the heavy fine and court costs he was required to pay following his criminal conviction? To assist with the filming issue I enclose a Daily Telegraph article and web link.
Could I have your assurance that should I turn up to record future council meetings, all facilities will be extended and the SERCO employed and other Beadles etc, likewise instructed. ?
Kind regards
Julian Bray
New guidelines issued by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government, condemn councils for using spurious justifications to prevent citizens from blogging, tweeting and filming council meetings.
 
Although the Government has already changed the law to permit filming and blogging, some councils have continued to argue that Data Protection or even health and safety rules mean filming should be banned.
 
A guide called ‘Your Council’s Cabinet’ today explicitly states that councillors and council officers can be filmed at council meetings, and corrects misconceptions that the Data Protection Act somehow prohibits this.
The Health and Safety Executive has also confirmed that ‘health and safety ‘regulations’ do not bar filming, which Wirral Council used to justify a filming ban last year.
 
The new guide also outlines the assorted rights that taxpayers’ have to access council papers and documents.

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OUR HUMAN RIGHT TO LAMPOON AND CRITICISE POLITICIANS

The Peterborough Tribune supports:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) an international non-profit organisation working to defend the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world.

Today, 30 years since its creation, RSF has enough experience and on-the-ground support to defend press freedom on a global scale. RSF accomplishes its work through its wide network of correspondents established in 130 countries, its 12 offices (Vienna, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, Helsinki, Berlin, Madrid, Stockholm, Geneva, Tunis, Washington DC, London, and Paris) and its consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe.

As a leading defender of press freedom and freedom of information, RSF alternates public interventions and effective behind-the-scenes actions. www.rsf.org/en





THE HIGH COURT has ruled....People have a right to lampoon and criticise politicians and public officials under the Human Rights Act, the High Court has ruled.

We have the full High Court judgment, saved as a page on here. l

ampoon (lampoon) Pronunciation: /lamˈpuːn/ verb [with object] publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm: the actor was lampooned by the press noun a speech or text lampooning someone or something: the magazine fired at God, Royalty, and politicians, using cartoons and lampoons.


Derivatives: lampooner noun lampoonery noun lampoonist noun Origin: mid 17th century: from French lampon, said to be from lampons 'let us drink' (used as a refrain), from lamper 'gulp down', nasalized form of laper 'to lap (liquid).

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