Craig Griffiths outlined the current arrangements with regards to meetings, and how they are being relayed on YouTube. However, the legislative arrangements have changed since this process was put in place. As well as the requirement for publication and webcasting, there is now a legal requirement for meetings to operate within a hybrid model.
Paragraph 20 of the report, provides a financial overview of the requirements to enable the Council to operate a hybrid model. There will be works required to the Chamber, which will also address some of the DDA issues that are currently faced at the venue. This will ensure that members and members of the public can access the Chamber.
It was noted that currently work is focusing on the Chamber. This is predominantly due to the expense. The report also seeks to set up a study group to look at other rooms that could potentially be used to accommodate hybrid meetings.
Members were reminded that the report is about the purchase of the equipment which will enable the physical element of hybrid working. The report was not seeking to determine the policies, protocols etc. to operate the hybrid arrangement.
Members were keen to see other rooms considered to upgrade to operate a hybrid model. Portable equipment could perhaps be considered for other rooms. Further work would be undertaken by the study group recommended to be set up.
Members were reminded about the duty on Council’s to increase and promote public participation, and it is hoped that the new equipment would assist with the Council in successfully fulfilling its duty to do this.
Members suggested that a dedicated room for scrutiny meetings could be considered. Further, that the current equipment in the Chamber could be utilised elsewhere so that it does not become redundant, given that it had only been upgraded in recent years.
Members reaffirmed the importance of having adequate access to the Chamber which would include disability access.
Following discussion, members were in support of the recommendation in the report to be placed before Cabinet for consideration.