So take a bow, members* of the Leeds City Council Scrutiny Board for Sustainable Economy and Culture.
They took the decision behind closed doors ahead of a meeting yesterday – a meeting which included a post mortem into the controversial death of the popular West Park community and arts centre in north Leeds.
No reason was given for the refusal.
“The board suggested that the council is at the moment drawing up a protocol for recording all council meetings,” Labour chair Cllr Mohammed Rafique explained to the meeting.
“So, until such time that protocol is circulated to all members of boards that for this meeting we would be happy to provide a recording of the meeting and the board would prefer if the meeting were not recorded by Leeds Citizen.”
We would be happy to provide a recording.
Sorry? Who’s we, kemosabe?
What he meant to say was that they would rather get council staff to waste their time fannying about making the council’s audio recording available over the internet than let a member of the public make their own recording.
So, as per the councillors’ “happy” instructions, someone was diverted from their normal work to get the file over. Which apparently wasn’t straightforward, given its size (1.6 GB) and the unfamiliarity with the process.
But by this afternoon – 26 hours after the meeting ended – I’d got it. Thanks to the staff involved.
And, you know what? The recording was EXACTLY THE SAME as it would have been had I made it on my tablet.
But it was THE COUNCIL’S recording. So the councillors could rest easy.
And there was me thinking that the council’s resources are stretched to the limit. Not so stretched apparently that council staff can’t be sent by councillors on a mission so breathtakingly pointless and wasteful that it beggars belief.
And for what? What are they trying to prove? That they’re in charge? That nothing can be done unless there’s a policy and a set of rules and procedures in place? They probably don’t even know, bless them.
What’s really alarming is that they are so insular and cocooned in their little world that they genuinely don’t realise how ridiculous they (and by association the council at large) look to the outside world.
You’ve got to have some sympathy for the leaders of Leeds City Council (who have no problem with THEIR meetings being recorded) as they try to drag these old-skool jobsworths into the 21st century.
* honourable mention for Cllr Dan Cohen, the only board member who didn’t join in the nonsense