COUNCILLORS have called for meetings to once again be held in City Hall, rather than online, during a meeting one called "embarrassing."

Bradford Council's Corporate Scrutiny Committee met for the first time since March during an online meeting on Thursday.

But there were numerous issues, including some officers losing signal and dropping out of the meeting, leading to one Councillor saying he hoped noone was watching the meeting on a live stream as "frankly it would be quite embarrassing."

At the meeting officers answered a number of questions submitted by members on issues such as domestic violence and hate crime to Council spending.

Online planning meeting described as ‘appalling’ by Committee member

The questions were read out by the officers answering the question, and committee members were able to ask a single follow up question.

But there were several issues with the meeting.

Committee Chair Councillor Nazam Azam (Lab, City) was unable to log on to the meeting, leaving Councillor Angela Tait (Lab, Royds) to step up to run the meeting at the last minute.

And seconds after being asked a question, Public Health officer Liz Barry dropped out of the meeting due to technical issues.the virtual meetings.

There were also instances of people beginning to speak while their microphone was muted.

Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said: "I know I'm cruising for a bruising, because my system will probably fall down now, but I do find this an utterly unsatisfactory way of conducting Council business.

"I hope nobody is watching this live stream, because frankly it would be quite embarrassing."

Council meetings are usually held in City Hall, but meetings were cancelled in March due to lockdown. Since then all meetings have been held online, and live-streamed.

Later in the meeting members heard that the Council was in the process of risk assessing a number of buildings to see if they are able to be brought back into use.

Cllr Griffiths said: "Given the difficulties we've had with this meeting at what point will we have done risk assessments of buildings like City Hall to see if it is able to once again hold committee meetings where members can sit apart from each other. It would be a damn site more functional that what we've had today."

Anne Lloyd, Director of Human Resources, said this was being considered by the Council, but added: "The government advice is still to work remotely if you can. Getting meetings like this organised is something that has been considered."

Members suggested that the committee, made up of 10 Councillors, could use the Council Chamber, which has space for 90 Councillors.

Councillor David Green (Lab, Wibsey) pointed out that there were some major items on upcoming agendas for the Committee, including scrutiny of Council spending in the first three months of the year. He said doing this effectively online would prove difficult.

Discussing future online meetings he said: "Unless we get something sorted out this isn't going to work. We have to look at the processes so this can function more like a committee, even if it is in a virtual world. We can't keep on like this if we're going to do our job properly. We can't do proper scrutiny.

"It won't add any value to the information we're getting in the reports. In terms of looking at some of the items we've got coming in, this ain't going to work."

Councillor Mike Pollard (Cons, Baildon) began speaking, but faced audio issues and was told he sounded like a Dalek.

When his audio returned to normal he said the issue happened "for no good reason" adding: "It isn't very satisfactory."

Cllr Griffiths added: "As it stands we're failing our job and failing the authority. it can't look very good."