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Councillors to vote on policy change after calls for more transparency
Keighley Town Council could allow its meetings to be “professionally” filmed for the first time if its members accept a recommendation on Thursday.
They will decide on a resolution proposed by the council’s policies and governance committee, which comes in the wake of a dispute which saw 11 members of the public removed from a council meeting by police officers.
They were escorted out of the July full meeting of the town council after refusing to stop filming the proceedings.
These parishioners argued they were legally entitled to film, citing support for their stance from Government minister Eric Pickles and Keighley MP Kris Hopkins.
Following the police involvement, Mr Pickles said Keighley Town Council had “lost the plot”.
However, the council countered that the members of the public had broken the council’s standing orders which currently prohibit the filming and recording of meetings.
The recommendation to go before Thursday night’s meeting says the rules should be amended to enable the council to arrange to film its meetings professionally.
It also states that members of the public wishing to do their own filming must obtain permission from the council at least seven days in advance, and “abide by the protocols laid down”.
Policies and governance committee chairman, Councillor Margaret Ward, explained that these protocols would only be drawn up if the resolution is approved by the town council. She said they would cover issues such as filming of minors and other potentially vulnerable people who may be speaking at council meetings.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “To say I’m baffled that some councillors are proposing to waste yet more public money by paying professional film-makers to show them in action is something of an understatement.
“I would respectfully suggest the council allows whoever wants to film them to simply do so. If it has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear.”
Ingrow resident Elizabeth Mitchell was one of the people ejected from the council meeting in July. She said the policies and governance recommendations do not go far enough.
“They do not satisfy our call for transparency,” she said. “If the council carries out its own filming our fear is that it will just be like the minutes of their meetings – ‘edited highlights’.
Mrs Mitchell is a member of the Cavetown Council group, which is fiercely critical of the way the council is run. The group has organised a petition calling for parishioners to be allowed to film the council’s public meeting. Mrs Mitchell said this has so far accumulated about 1,300 signatures.
Town clerk Miggy Bailey declined to comment on behalf of the council when contacted.
Thursday’s full town council meeting begins in Keighley Town Hall at 6.30pm.
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