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Filming, recording and use of social media at council meetings

Guidance on filming and recording meetings

Under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, filming, photographing and making an audio recording of all public meetings is permitted.

Any person who attends a meeting of a relevant local government body for the purpose of recording and reporting on the meeting may use any communication method - including the internet - to publish, post or otherwise share the results of their reporting activities, provided it doesn’t disrupt the conduct of the meeting.

This means that the use of social media (such as tweeting and blogging) can be used to report the proceedings of all meetings open to the public.

The council will provide reasonable facilities to the public and press to assist filming or recording of meetings by allocating space(s) for this purpose on the front row of designated public areas. All filming and recording must be done in a non-disruptive manner and can only be undertaken from those designated spaces.

In the interests of privacy and safeguarding individuals, the council will ensure spaces are also available in the public area for members of the public who do not wish to be filmed including vulnerable adults and children.

No prior permission is required for members of the public and press to film or record meetings to which they are permitted access. However, it would be helpful if individuals contact the appropriate committee officer (see front of relevant agenda) who can provide appropriate advice and guidance.

Any action or activity which disrupts the conduct of meetings or impedes other members of the public being able to see, hear or film etc. the proceedings will be deemed disruptive. For example, if the following occurs:

  • moving to areas outside the areas designated for the purpose of filming and recording without the consent of the chair of the meeting
  • excessive noise in recording, setting up or re-siting equipment during the debate/discussion
  • ongoing, audible commentary as recording undertaken
  • asking for people to repeat statements for the purposes of recording
  • use of lighting and use of flash photography.

The chair of the meeting - or any officer representing the monitoring officer - has the capacity to stop a meeting and take appropriate action if any person is deemed to be filming or recording in a disruptive manner.

The regulations allow individuals to film and record all those taking part in the meeting including officers and any members of the public invited to address the
meeting/make representations etc. However, if any such filming and recording apparently focusses on an individual, the chair may conclude that such action exceeds article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and may rule that this is not permissible.

The press and public are excluded from meetings if it is likely that the discussion may involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended). Therefore, meetings - or parts of meetings - from which the press and public are excluded may not be filmed or recorded.

Any person or organisation choosing to film, record or broadcast any public meeting of the council, its cabinet or committees, is responsible for any claims or other liability resulting from them so doing. By choosing to film, record or broadcast proceedings, they accept that they are required to indemnify the council, its members and officers in relation to any such claims or liabilities.

The council will publish the guidance on the filming, recording and broadcasting of meetings on its website and make it available at its public meetings. Those undertaking these activities will be deemed to have accepted them whether they have read them or not.