Conservative-run Croydon Council offers the chance to their residents
(any anyone else) to see filmed recordings of their Council meetings
via the Croydon Council website, in other words, webcasts.
This link gives you the chance not to watch full council meetings but Cabinet meetings, Planning meetings, Scrutiny meetings, etc.
A Croydon Council spokesman says:
"Our service been operational since January 2005. The first webcast was South Norwood & Selhurst Neighbourhood Partnership on 19 January. The average number of hits across ALL meetings is 200-300. However, full council, cabinet and planning meetings regularly achieve 300-400 hits (the highest is 616 for a planning meeting) and special meetings have achieved 500-600 hits. Figures are rising year on year. How much does it cost? Total annual cost, incorporating contract with Public-i (the company which hosts and encodes webcasts and provides technical support and training) and operating staff costs is currently running below £50,000. (This covers 77 webcasts over the past year.)"
Interesting that Planning Committee meetings pull in more punters on the web than full Council meetings. So the cost is relatively modest but so are the numbers of hits. The cost works out at about £2 for each person who looks at a webcast. This seems reasonable. It increases accountability. What councillors say can be written down and quoted in leaflets by their opponents. But then if misquoted councillors are in a stronger position to challenge it. But does being filmed make contributions more self conscious, more risk averse, less candid?