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May 26 2014

Open Letter to Cllr Perry: Streaming of Cabinet Meetings

iharrow_logo_150x150David

Congratulations on your success in the recent elections.

One of the readers of iharrow.com has expressed an interest in streaming live video and audio from cabinet meetings in the future. I’m sure that in the interests of openness and transparency, you’d be happy to allow this, and, of course, there would be absolutely no charge to the council for him doing so.

Indeed, we should be doing all we can to encourage greater resident involvement in how the council is run – something I’ve been doing in trying to encourage residents to attend cabinet and council meetings themselves over the last year or so.

Perhaps you could consider this request – we’d be happy to meet with you to explain how the streaming might work, and how it would have zero impact on the proceedings of cabinet.

I’d like to also point out that some other boroughs also stream, or allow streaming of, their meetings – this can only be a good thing for residents, yes?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards
Paul

 

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29 comments

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  1. Concerned Harrovian

    Paul

    Thank you for taking the suggestion by Ricky 123 forward. Anything that informs the electorate about the working of Harrow council must be a good thing. When the next election occurs it means the public can make more informed decisions having seen the council and councillors in action or non action as the case may be.

  2. ricky123

    Hi Paul, it would be good if we could do it, Cllr Hall was considering it and I am pretty sure if she had won the election would at least had a meeting to see how it could work.

  3. sonoo malkani

    Since we are privy to what goes on in the House of Commons and the House of Lords it makes perfect sense that we get a look-in locally,especially as our governments are moving ever more to handing more power back to our local Councils.Transparency of this kind would enormously benefit everybody—politicians and public alike.

    It would certainly help engage the population of Harrow and allow them the opportunity to closely monitor what is happening on an ongoing basis.No matter which party is in charge the PEOPLE of Harrow have a right to see how decisions are being taken which impact so much on their day-to-day living.Let them see and hear first-hand and deliver judgement based on evidence,not hearsay.

  4. Someonewhocares

    @Ricky123:

    – As you may know there was a video recording made during the full Council Meeting on February 27 – then available via ‘vimeo’ – and which illustrated the ‘pros and cons’ of doing this; It was long (3+ hours) and the sound rather poor but was still a really good way of showing the ‘Council in action’. As a general rule of course ‘the more transparent the better’! (The vimeo ref. was 87829840 if it helps)

  5. Susan Hall

    Paul we Conservatives would certainly have done it. We have nothing to hide and are proud of the way we scrutinise papers and decisions. We will be on Cabinet as it was agreed cross party that whoever won power would at least have opposition members on Cabinet as non voting members. Thus helping with scrutiny and debate. Bring it on!

    1. Someonewhocares

      @ Cllr Hall

      In the interests of transparency could you tell us where that cross-party Cabinet ‘agreement’ was actually minuted? ‘Bring it on’ is fine – but hopefully not just for the purposes of recording more of the overly-confrontational arguments and petty politicking we have all seen of late; In case you still did not realise we – the residents of Harrow – are sick and tired of all the bickering and WE actually want ALL PARTIES to work together now, and in OUR interests!

      1. Susan Hall

        Constitutional working group. Perhaps you should remember that the Tories and Independent labour did work together. It was Labour that would not cooperate. Meanwhile I am amazed that you refer to bickering at Cabinet given that so few people actually turn up. Perhaps the residents would like to see what happens in these meetings from the comfort of their own homes. I welcome the idea.

        1. Someonewhocares

          I did remember – and also why that particular ‘alliance’ with the ILG was necessary, too; Perhaps Labour knew better than to ‘cooperate’? The bickering is common knowledge,
          and in fact we do not even have to experience in person to know it does not help any of us.

  6. Terry Mills

    Please add me to the list of people in favour of this.

  7. King David

    If it is any help, the suggestion was incorporated/made by one previous Leader of the Council in his paper to Harrow Council’s Corporate Strategic Board but nothing came out of it.

    Incorporating Opposition/minority party members on Cabinet, albeit non voting non exec, was agreed by a vote at a Council meeting this year.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Do you mean this suggestion to stream ‘live’ ‘video or just to video-record proceedings?

      Interesting – was this particular ‘incorporation’ meeting minuted somewhere in the Public Domain, too?

  8. ricky123

    I can live stream and also record at the same time, then the recorded version can go on the website for people to see at their leisure if they missed the live stream

  9. Honest and Open

    I am all for this, fantastic idea. However, what is most telling is the silence of Cllr Perry on here? Would you not have thought that even an acknowledgement or a thank you for voting Labour in would go amiss by him? To at least let us know that he has read some of the concerns on here, and perhaps answer one or two questions. My fear is that it has now gone back to the dark ages in the council again, where we as usual are kept like mushrooms in the dark. Four days in and I am already disappointed by this new administration. Susan Hall although I am not a Tory supporter, I along with many miss you, and the good grace you showed for interacting with the residents on here.

  10. sonoo malkani

    Steady!Early days yet.Let’s be fair and allow the new people to get their feet under the table and catch up with our requests.I back your suggestions,Ricky 123.

  11. Honest and Open

    Sonoo Malkani…………Four days in and an acknowledgement would be a good idea, even just to say I will answer your questions in due course. After all good manners goes a long way do you not agree?

  12. sonoo malkani

    That would help!Engaging with the public is ever more important.

  13. King David

    To be fair new leader does not officially take charge until June Council i think? And since he is in full time employment he may want to sort out arrangements beforehand.

  14. imwaching everything

    I for one would agree this needs to happen and then perhaps people will think before they speak and make decisions without fully understanding the consequences to many times have the people of this great borough been shafted by people who don’t seem to be accountable for their actions

  15. John Clement

    I should think the last thing the Labour councikl wants is transparency, particularly in its dealings with developers & slum landlords.

  16. sonoo malkani

    John Clement,as a humble community member I prefer keeping an open mind and consider it fair and proper to wait and see what transpires ,before passing judgement.The proof of the pudding is in the eating!

    I am hopeful OUR interests, which are paramount, are taken very seriously and the good work started by the previous administration,to rid us of fraudsters,cheats,illegal immigrants,crooked landlords,drug peddlars and a host of other criminals will continue unhampered.

    We simply cannot afford to let up on those living off our taxes and abusing honest citizens’ hard-earned monies.Let us be patient and see how we progress.

  17. John Clement

    Dear Sonoo, My persoanl experience is slum landlord pressing development very detrimental to community -refused on numerous grounds. Council changed from Conservative to Labour, same proposal re-submitted & passed. It is now in place a grotesque ediface detrimental to the quality of life of those nearing it, and ticking all the boxes as for why planning permission was originally refused.Affordable ? housing on our parks -here we come.

  18. iharrow.com

    David Perry replied to the email:

    Paul

    Thank you for your email and idea.

    Once elected as Leader of the Council, I would be happy to give this new idea further thought and discuss in practice, with officers, how this might work.

    Thank you for your recent election coverage of the Labour Groups press releases etc.

    Regards

    Cllr. David Perry
    Leader of the Labour Group

    We’ll give him a few weeks, and follow up with him in due course.

  19. sonoo malkani

    Good to see you are open-minded about this David.Look forward to whatever makes the democratic process stronger.

  20. Hannah

    I think it is an important idea to webcast meetings – particularly Full Council, Executive and planning. It is of course important from the public perspective of transparency but in terms of the Councillors, my experience is that it cuts waffling, nasty comments and increases focus and relevance. It also protects – if a decision is disputed all parties have a permanent record of events. There must however be rules in place that the recording and web cast is done by the council and it must be mentioned at the start of the meeting. I have been involved in this before so am happy to be involved in discussions as it is really important.

  21. sonoo malkani

    Hannah your comments make good sense.You have raised valid points well worth considering..Perhaps,David Perry will factor those in before arriving at a decision about the streaming of webcasts.This will hopefully help restore discipline at these meetings and promote public confidence in our Local Authority.

  22. iharrow.com

    Another update from Dave, on the issue of streaming/recording meetings:

    Paul

    Thank you for your email.

    Now officially, the Leader of the Council, I shall be discussing this issue with Officers and the logistics of such a request. I shall respond to you in due course.

    David Perry

    No doubt there’s more to come…

  23. sonoo malkani

    It’s re-assuring to know that this subject is up for discussion and that the Leader has an open mind about issues which matter so much to local citizens.Not only would this help promote transparency but would also provide Councillors with the opportunity to show themselves up in a positive light, slowly but surely restoring the battered image of our Council.Yes,it is very important we re-build trust and engage closely with our public.

    These web-casts will be accessed only by a proportion of our citizens but will pave the way for those who do not favour new technology or cannot do so for a variety of reasons,to have discussions with knowledge gleaned via the web-casts.That will make it more inclusive.In fact,there may be volunteers who provide FACTUAL SUMMARIES to help those who have no love of computers making the whole process more inclusive.

    It will reveal a great deal about the workings within our Local Authority which in turn will allow the public the chance to make more INFORMED OPINIONS about the service being proposed or received.It will be evidence based,Not hearsay or malicious gossip.That seems fairer and far more reasonable.

  24. Honest & Open

    Have just had a very quick look and found Preston city council, East sussex council, Cornwall council, and Birmingham city council stream cabinet and other meetings, and there are probably more? So what is Harrow waiting for, after all Ricky 123 has offered to set it up? Come on David Perry there can be no excuses now!

  25. sonoo malkani

    Great knowing other Councils already do this.We could look at any gaps in how they web-cast and how we could make it even better and then put ourselves on show!Patience is a virtue.Give the new team a chance to organise things properly right from the start.

    I am very hopeful,with the strength of feeling expressed,the new Leader will make it a priority to get this sorted.

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