Problems with Proposed amendments to Standing Orders 53 & 54

  • Either a meeting is public, or it isn’t;
  • It is quite acceptable that some meetings are “in committee” – data protection, robust commentary and lack of showboating eg – and these proposed rules should apply then;
  • If a meeting is in public view, what basis is there for restricting the manner in which the meeting is noted/details are repeated?
  • Accurate details are to the benefit of cllrs who might otherwise be misrepresented;
  • It is not clear whether this applies to just cllrs, or the public gallery (including reporters) or both; how do you “discipline” a reporter or a member of the public?
  • It’s not clear that this is even technically enforceable, from a technological or legal standpoint, by virtue of the following example:
  1. This is a blog post, being written before the council meeting;
  2. It is being scheduled to post online, during the council meeting;
  3. This blog is automatically linked to a Twitter account; any new blog post will be automatically tweeted;
  4. So, my Twitter account will post during the meeting, even though I won’t be using a device to do so then; do these amendments refer to this, or not – and if not, why not? It’s not clear;
  5. In addition: does “social media” refer even to a blog post? A website comment?How and why?
  6. This may seem trivial, but it’s not (I’ve done it): will a cllr be disciplined for posting eg a library event, during the tea break?
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