Sometimes councillors assume that putting webcasting or audio available of Council meetings will produce a negligible audience. This is because few members of the public usually attend Council meetings. However Kirklees Council have notched up online viewing figures of 14,000 since they introduced it a year ago.That is the cumulative figure for lots of meetings but it is still impressive.
That represents some encouragement to the transparency agenda. If the webcasts are getting that many hits then let's hope that Kirklees has a few armchair auditors sifting through the accounts.
Jonathan Carr-West, Director of the Local Government Information Unit, says:
"In addition to highlighting waste, transparency has also helped local businesses club together to pitch for contracts and voluntary organisations to see where they can form new collaborations.
Pickles has also told town halls to open their doors to bloggers and allow online filming of public meetings. In councils like Kirklees, online viewing figures have already exceeded 14,000 -a significant
figure when compared to how many people participate in most formal council activity.
Many of these recordings of council meetings are ending up on hyperlocal websites. These, too, are playing a valuable role in engaging residents in local democracy. "