Council meetings to be made available to public via livestream for 180 days

In a bid to promote democratic engagement across the Scottish Borders council meetings are set to be recorded and made available for the public to view afterwards.

Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.

When Scottish Borders Council meets on Thursday, March 31, members will be recommended to approve a move to livestream committee meetings and allow them to be viewed for a total of 180 days, after which the recordings would be deleted.

It is hoped that the move will allow the public to become more engaged in the democratic process and give them a clearer view of how decisions which impact on their lives are made.

Back in July 2020, as a result of the public health concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic, it was agreed that Scottish Borders Council meetings would be made available to view via livestream.

However, no recordings of these meetings are made for viewing after they end.

If go-ahead is given for recordings to be made it will enable members of the public to view the meetings on a variety of devices, including smart phones, iPads, laptops and personal computers,

Additionally five council sites, including its headquarters in Newtown St Boswells and buildings in Galashiels, Hawick, Peebles and Eyemouth, have public wifi supplied via BT Openreach which will allow Borderers free access to the meetings using their own devices.

In a report to full council, David Robertson, the council’s director of finance and corporate governance, says: “In order to promote democratic engagement with the Borders community, officers have been looking at the means to be able to record meetings and make these available to the public after the event.

“It is now proposed that when public business is being considered at any council committee meeting which is livestreamed, these meetings will be recorded and made available to the public after the meeting through the link to the event livestream.

“This link will remain live for 180 days after the meeting and will then be automatically deleted”.

Confidential business would not be livestreamed under the proposals and it is not intended that this part of the meeting be recorded.

The change would not permit any person other than the council from recording, photographing or filming any committee proceedings.