Sheffield’s Green Party Councillors are calling for recordings of Full Council meetings to be made available over the internet to try and increase turnout at local elections. They argue that the meetings usually held during working hours are inaccessible to the general public causing a disconnect between voters and their representatives on the Council. They are proposing a motion to the meeting of the Full Council on June 13th calling for audio of the meetings to be made available on the Council’s website.
Green Cllr Rob Murphy said ‘We believe it’s time to drag the Council Chamber into the 21st Century. There’s no reason our main decision making body shouldn’t be given the widest audience possible so that residents can hear all sides of the debates in our city today.’
‘We believe in open government and hope this will be the first step in getting people more involved in politics and the issues that effect their everyday lives.’ ENDS
Note : The wording of the motion is :
Notice Of Motion Given By Councillor Robert Murphy
That this Council:-
(a) notes the low turnout at the recent local elections for Sheffield City Council with just 32.77%, less than 1 in 3 of those registered, actually voting;
(b) believes that inaccessibility and lack of transparency in Council matters is partly responsible for this apathy;
(c) believes that the timing of meetings such as Full Council and Scrutiny Committees during normal working hours makes it difficult for many members of the public to attend;
(d) believes that every effort should be made to increase access to and transparency of the decision making processes of Sheffield City Council;
(e) believes that the audio of the debates and decision making parts of Full Council meetings should be made available through electronic media;
(f) believes that the Council should be open to allowing recordings of such proceedings by members of the general public;
(g) believes that after an initial evaluation, further council meetings that are open to the public should be made similarly accessible; and
(h) therefore instructs the Chief Executive to bring forward plans to enable audio of Full Council meetings to be made available through electronic media, including the Council’s website.