Leeds City Council looks set to have another go at trialling the webcasting of council meetings after its first attempt was dogged by technical – and other -difficulties.
Councillors sitting on one of the council’s committees are being asked to give the go-ahead next week to a second trial on 27th February, when the council meets to discuss next year’s budget.
Public sector webcast specialists Public-i carried out the first trial for the council at the end of November. There’s archive footage on the council’s website, but in the end it never went out live.
And even if it had been the right kind, technical problems meant it still wouldn’t have gone out live.
“The State of the City Council meeting held on 28th November 2012 was recorded and webcast by Public-i. The meeting itself was in two parts with workshops taking place in between. As a consequence it was decided that it would not be appropriate to provide a live broadcast of the event,” says a council report prepared for next Tuesday’s committee meeting.
“There were some technical difficulties which would have prevented live webcasting the event and Public-i have offered a second trial webcast to demonstrate the reliability of the system,” it adds .
“Increase community engagement”
The archived footage – which you can see here – has so far been accessed only 391 times. To be fair, as the report notes: “there has been no significant promotion of the webcast or its continuing availability”.
Why the webcasts in the first place?
It’s to “make a contribution to promoting the democratic process and to increasing the transparency of the Council’s decision making”.
“It … could potentially make an important contribution to … increasing community engagement by enabling more of its citizens to having greater involvement in the democratic process,” said a report in August last year when the idea of the trials first came up.
If February’s trial goes better than the first, you could be watching council sessions live on your favourite device from May onwards.