Live audio streaming will make public meetings more accessible

Following a successful trial in 2017, Herefordshire Council’s public meetings are now even more accessible with the introduction of live audio streaming.

The council has a legal duty to provide a record of public council meetings, but also wants to provide new opportunities for the people of Herefordshire to become an active part of their local democracy. Audio broadcasts provide an inexpensive way for residents across the county to ‘virtually’ attend meetings. Once a public meeting closes, the streaming converts into ‘audio minutes’ – available to playback at the convenience of voters, on a laptop or mobile device, and without the need to attend a meeting in person. It is hoped that these changes will encourage voters to become more engaged in their local democracy.

Councillor Nigel Shaw, Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Housing and Corporate Services, said:

“Audio casting proves Herefordshire Council's commitment to transparency and democracy, providing voters with the opportunity to listen to a true, real time record of public meetings at a convenient time. We will continue to monitor how this service is used to ensure best value for money, and explore the viability of future video streaming.

“A healthy democracy depends upon active citizenship. The introduction of audio broadcasting is a new way for people who live and work in Herefordshire to keep informed about council decisions that affect them.”

Additional changes have been proposed to further enhance the openness and visibility of public meetings and elected members. From 7 June, Cabinet meetings will be rescheduled to start at 10am and the future use of live video streaming will be considered, following a motion passed by Full Council on 9 March 2018.

To access live or archived audio minutes, sign up for meeting reminders, or to view meeting agenda items, go to www.herefordshire.gov.uk/meetings

Published: Wednesday, 6th June 2018