To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Digital and Information Officer
The Chief Digital and Information Officer submitted a report for verbal discussion between elected members and officers from the Resources Directorate, relating to the issue of technology available for the purpose of recording and live streaming Community Committee meetings at venues in the localities.
It was noted that since emerging from lockdown, the Outer West Community Committee has based its formal meetings at Civic Hall, to best utilise the engagement opportunity enabled by the live streaming technology in place there. Members wished to understand the requirements needed to bring this capability to venues in the Outer West area, so members of the public can attend meetings based locally, and those wanting to maintain social distancing can watch the proceedings using an online feed.
Members were informed of the following points:
· The set up from Civic Hall to live stream meetings from the Council Chamber and the main committee room are complex. They require technology and resources to ensure the format of the meetings could be met, all at a great cost to the Council.
· The Council also has use of MS Teams and Zoom which can support online meetings where there is a good internet connection.
· The live streaming of meetings within the locality would be dependent on the size of the venue, technology such as controls and mixers in a backroom and the internet connection in the venues.
Discussions on this issue included:
· The number of Council offices in the locality such as the Hubs and Farnley Hall do have internet connection and could be used for meetings.
· Cost analysis would be required to look at setting up live steaming facilities at Pudsey Civic Hall. Members were of the view that if this venue were to be set up to live stream meetings it would be a valuable community asset which could be hired out.
· The use of technology to live stream meetings had been discussed prior to the pandemic but this forced the council to use the technology available. Members thought it unacceptable that they had to remain in Civic Hall to live stream the Community Committee meetings which should be held in the communities that they serve. Members were of the view that this issue should be looked at by the Chief Executive. Members said that they did require all venues to have the technology to live stream meetings but a few decent venues in the local areas would be more acceptable to enable the Community meetings to be accessible to all whether they wished to attend in person or via online steaming.
· The Members of the Outer West Community Committee were of the view that this conversation was being had in other Community Committees.
· It was acknowledged that the video conferencing available at the Civic Hall was of a high specification. However, they understood that a hybrid version could be used, but would require a camera to allow everyone viewing online to see who was speaking.
· It was noted that the Police and Crime Commission meeting was held in Wakefield using hybrid technology and the use of a moveable camera. Members suggested that this should be looked at as an option.
Officers from Digital and Information Technology said that they would look at venues in the locality in relation to internet connection and video conferencing facilities. They also said that they would have a conversation with Wakefield Council in relation to the moveable camera.
RESOLVED – To note the content of the report and discuss.