New era of transparency?

09:00 19 August 2014

Archant

Campaigners have welcomed new rules they say will reveal the lack of openness and ‘puerile debate’ in council meetings.

The ‘right to report’ laws came in to force last week.

This means that the public will be allowed to film, record and tweet live from council meetings, including Exmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council as well as all parish council meetings.

But while there is no legal requirement for the press or public to inform council staff of the intention to film of record prior to the meeting, the department of communities say they would ‘encourage people’ to contact staff in advance.

Campaigners the East Devon Alliance (EDA) and Save Our Sidmouth (SOS), as well as East Devon District Council (EDDC) all say that the new rules will make the decision making more transparent.

Richard Thurlow, chairman of SOS, said that they intend to take advantage of the new law ‘to its fullest extent’.

He added: “This is extremely helpful as it will enable the public to record public EDDC meetings and demonstrate the lack of openness, often childish and puerile debate and steamroller tactics used.”

EDA chairman Paul Arnott said that the changes represented an ‘overdue reform’ and would help to encourage democracy in local government.

He said: “This means that EDDC’s inadequate and even hostile replies to questions raised legitimately can be exposed to wider public scrutiny by council tax payers.

“Similarly, as open debates will be recorded by the public, councillors may decide to adopt a mature and courteous approach to each other and to the public.”

The rules apply to any public meeting held by town, parish, district and county councils and take effect immediately.

An EDDC spokesman said: “We live in a modern digital world where the use of modern communication methods such as filming and tweeting should be embraced for enhancing the openness and transparency of local government.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Exmouth Journal visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Exmouth Journal staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Exmouth Journal account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:30

Community and voluntary groups which feel in need of more support or want to learn how to work more effectively are being urged to register with a local charity.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

An application to build five houses on agricultural land in East Budleigh looks set to get the go-ahead.

Read more
Fri, 15:13

Photographers have been capturing the first frost of the season.

Read more
Fri, 14:57

Visitors looking to do Christmas shopping can benefit from cheaper parking in East Devon, thanks to a returning offer from the district council.

Read more
Fri, 14:41

A serial burglar from Lympstone has been given a chance to overcome his drug habit and warned he faces a five year jail term if he fails.

Read more
Fri, 12:30

A Royal Navy officer made a return to her old stomping ground to present Exmouth’s Sea Cadets with their latest award, writes Daniel Green.

Read more
Fri, 10:00

The closure of a mineral processing plant in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) could mean 140 fewer HGVs a day travelling across Woodbury Common.

Read more
Fri, 06:30

Lympstone residents have accused Devon County Council (DCC) of ignoring the village during the Dinan Way extension consultation process.

Read more
Thu, 16:59

‘Any positive ideas are seriously compromised by austerity agenda’ - Sidmouth nurse and steward for the trade union

Read more
Thu, 12:30

Exmouth planners have backed the refurbishment of an iconic town centre building – with opposition to the scheme described as ‘hogwash’.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications