Issued: 7 January 2020
You can now watch South Hams District Council and South Hams Development Management (DM) Committee make their decisions live on social media.
South Hams District Council has now started streaming all meetings which take place in the Council Chamber at Follaton House to their website, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Openness and Transparency in local government is very important. It enables the public to understand what their politicians do for them and how they make their decisions.
Cllr Nicky Hopwood, Executive Member for Communications said: “We live in a world now where information is delivered to the public on hand held devices as and when they want it. If we are going to reach our residents and they are going to understand the complexities of the decisions we make, and take part in that democratic process, then it is essential that we make our meetings more accessible.”
South Hams District Council has now joined the many councils across the country who have made it possible for the public to watch their democratic process from the comfort of their own homes.
Following an internal trial period, the first meeting to be streamed live on social media, was the Development Management Committee meeting on Wednesday 4 December. The streaming was well received by those who watched it online.
This is also a positive step towards reducing the Council’s carbon footprint. The South Hams covers nearly 900 square km so it’s not always practical for residents, agents and staff of the applications considered that day to drive to Follaton House to view the proceedings.
Where committee meetings are held in other rooms at Follaton House, such as Executive, Overview and Scrutiny, Audit and Licensing committees, the Council is considering options to find a solution to live stream them as well. The effectiveness of the streaming system will then be reviewed again in November this year.
Cllr Nicky Hopwood continued: “We’re delighted that we have started to stream our meetings because it’s crucial that we are transparent about decision making at the Council. Meetings have always been available for the public to attend in person, but now we can open them to a much wider audience to view in their homes or workplace.
“Social media has enormous followers so it’s really important that we broadcast on a number of different platforms to get the biggest audience we can. Even if you don’t have social media, you can still watch from our Join the Conversation webpage on your mobile phone, tablet or computer.”
“We know we still have a way to go to get all of the meetings streamed online and this is down to the cost involved and the logistics of each committee room, but this is in important and very welcome first step.”
January’s streamed committee meetings are Development Management, known as ‘Planning’, on Wednesday 15 January and the Joint Budget Consultation meeting of the DM Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Thursday, 23 January.
Check the times and dates of all of South Hams District Council’s meetings at www.southhams.gov.uk/Committees
You can view streamed meetings on SHDC’s:
YouTube: South Hams District Council
Check the website and social media for information about future meeting dates.