Live streaming and recording of meetings will become policy at City of Playford, even when COVID-19 restrictions ease, following a motion at its May 26 meeting.
Ward 3 councillor, David Kerrison, raised the controversial motion, hoping to improve transparency, accountability and community involvement in the process.
Cr Kerrison has been an advocate for improvements in transparency of council meetings and operations since he was elected at the last local government elections.
“Since being elected to council in 2018, I have been motivated to improve transparency, accountability and community involvement,” Cr Kerrison said.
“It has been a pleasure to work with fellow councillor Clint Marsh to see this new service being delivered for the community and ratepayers.”
Councillor Marsh, who was elected to represent residents in Ward 1, backed the motion, saying the issue had been raised in the chamber some years before but was not supported due to financial restraints, including the costs associated with installation, streaming and storing of recordings.
“In my opinion, elected members may have thought the cost of the setup did not way up against the benefits this would provide to our community,” Cr Marsh stated.
Mr Marsh said he continued to campaign in support of the issue on his councillor Facebook page.
“There was a need for residents to be able to see and hear their elected members’ discussion and debates on community topics,” he said.
With COVID-19 restrictions forcing councils across the state to provide online access to meetings for ratepayers, Cr Marsh said the May 26 decision was a positive step forward for the council.
“Through the current experiences by council, a great level of support was gained and City of Playford will now continue with live streaming post Covid crisis,” he said.
“Meetings will now be stored on a suitable media platform accessible to ratepayers.
“I acknowledge and accept improvements towards openness and transparency need to be enhanced, and in the small time being elected, we are delivering on this through a series of improvements.
“It has been wonderful to see a large support base from elected members allowing for live streaming to continue and be accessible to ratepayers.
“Elected members continue to improve engagements with our administration and ratepayers and live streaming and accessibility to recording of meetings is a prime example.”
While neighbouring Adelaide Plains Council has been streaming its ordinary council meetings live throughout the pandemic, it is not yet clear if this format will be retained once coronavirus restrictions are eased.
In a statement, APC mayor Mark Wasley said council had resolved that for the duration, meetings are held by electronic means in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, all recordings will be made available to the public via the APC website as soon as possible, “in order of being transparent to the public.”
“We will continue to make recordings of meetings held electronically available on the council website and will review these arrangements once we transition back to holding meetings in person,” Mayor Wasley said.
The recordings are accessible on APC’s website under ‘Council Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Recordings’ (www.apc.sa.gov.au/our-council/meetings-of-council/council), where viewers will be redirected to council’s ‘YouTube’ channel to watch the relevant meeting.