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Date set to broadcast Birmingham cabinet meetings to the world

Date set to broadcast Birmingham cabinet meetings to the world

🕔18.Dec 2012

Live video streaming of Birmingham City Council cabinet and planning committee meetings is expected to begin in February next year.

The council is close to finalising a contract with an as yet un-named media company and has identified committee rooms three and four in the Council House as the venue for live coverage.

The preferred bidder has offered to provide a set number of hours’ coverage during the year for a fixed fee, but it will be up to council leaders to decide exactly which meetings are screened.

A source said it was also likely that some scrutiny committees and district committee meetings would be broadcast, fulfilling an open government commitment by council leader Sir Albert Bore.

The annual cost to the council of live streaming on the internet is thought to be in excess of £100,000 and the money to pay for the new service will come from corporate reserves.

However, the cost is not as much as £500,000 and can be signed off by chief officers using delegated powers.

Full council meetings will continue to be screened live, as happens now. The eight council meetings shown so far have attracted more than 43,000 views.

Sir Albert made it clear when taking control of the council in May that he regarded live coverage of meetings as an essential step forward in bringing greater democratic accountability to the local authority.

He is particularly keen for district committee meetings to be held in the Council House, where chief officers are on hand to easily attend. Sir Albert said live streaming would allow members of the public to follow the businesses of the committees from the comfort of their own homes.

Only the more controversial scrutiny committee meetings are expected to be broadcast, along with fortnightly planning committee meetings.

Procurement of the webcasting service was handled by Service Birmingham, the council’s IT provider although a formal tendering process was not conducted.

Cllr James McKay (Lab Harborne), cabinet member for a green, safe and smart city, said: “A procurement exercise is underway and will be finalised shortly. The council leader has made it absolutely clear that a measure of priority is to be given to this.”


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