Thursday, 6 February 2014

There is no legal reason not to film. There is the expectation to allow filming and editing and comments.

Department for Communities and Local Government
3/J1 Eland House
Bressenden Place

Our Ref: ER/001412/14
Your Ref:
31 January 2014

Dear Mr Lokuciewski

Thank you for your email of 10 January to the Secretary of State about filming at planning
meetings. I am replying as I work in the team that is responsible for the policy on access
to council meetings.

I am pleased to hear that your Council allows filming at public meetings. However as
local authorities are independent of the central government and are directly accountable
to their local people, I cannot comment on why your Council does not allow filming
at planning meetings. The Government message is, councils should adopt maximum
transparency and openness by embracing the filming of their public meetings by members
of the public. Therefore, planning committees like any other council committees should
be opened to the public so that the proceedings can be reported. Also, section 3.5 of the
Procedural Guide- Planning appeals – England, issued in October 2013, explains the
openness and transparency planning appeal hearings.

Here is the link to the guide:

You may also wish to know that the Local Audit and Accountability Bill became law
yesterday and section 40 of the Act gives the Secretary of State the power to make
regulations that may allow local people including citizen journalists to attend public
meetings of the local government bodies listed under section 40(6) of the Act and report
the proceedings by using various communication methods such as filming, tweeting and
blogging. This is a significant change in favour of openness and transparency, as, once
the secondary legislation is made, councils and other local bodies will be compelled to
allow members of the public to film or tweet at their public meetings.
In view of this, I suggest that you contact your Council to ascertain how their decision to
prevent the filming of planning meetings reflects the recent changes.

Yours sincerely

Tayo Peters


No comments:

Post a Comment