Harborough council urged to improve quality of its online coverage of meetings

It took some residents up to 45 minutes to be able to tune in on Monday night

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 10:42 am
Harborough District Council
Harborough District Council

A senior councillor is calling on Harborough council to urgently improve the quality of its online coverage of vital meetings.

Cllr Phil Knowles is making his plea after the district council suffered “teething problems” as it broadcast the full council meeting on night (Monday).

It took some residents up to 45 minutes to be able to tune in after it started at 6.30pm because a key link on the online agenda hadn’t been updated.

The sound was also very scratchy during the meeting, which lasted almost three hours, and the camera didn’t always focus on the councillor who was talking.

“This isn’t good enough, either for the local press or local people.

“This needs sorting out because our councillors have to be fully accountable to their constituents in Harborough,” said Cllr Knowles, who leads the authority’s Liberal Democrat group.

“It’s obvious that we are running into teething problems as we try a new way of doing this.

“So I’d hope that the council will address and resolve these gremlins in the system as soon as possible.”

A Harborough District Council spokesman told us: “To enable public access to council meetings during the Covid pandemic, the council provided a staffed audio/visual service.

“However, such an approach is not economical now that council meetings are again fully open to the public. “Consequently, we are now delivering our audio/visual presentations via the use of new technology.

“As ever with new ways of working it may take a little while to bed down.

“We were actively monitoring the broadcast throughout the meeting and the link on the main website was working.

“However, the access issue that seems to have arisen was due to a link within the online agenda that had not been updated, a lesson now learnt,” he said.

“This was corrected during the meeting.

“Please note that the council meets the access standards required by law, in that the public and press have access to meetings ‘in person’.

“A dedicated press table is also reserved at each meeting.

“However, we will endeavour to ensure that audio and/or visual recordings of the meetings will be made available during the meeting and after the meeting.”

“We welcome any feedback to ensure that our meetings run effectively.”