Webcasting meetings is to become a permanent fixture of Frodsham Town Council’s culture.
Council chairman Mark Warren confirmed that meetings will be filmed and uploaded to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s website from now on, after becoming the first town or parish council in the borough to webcast one of its meetings in December last year.
Cllr Warren said: “We've had a top down rethink of our communication strategy and decided to increase our digital and internet based outputs whilst scaling back on our traditional paper based media.
“Of course we still retain the ability to produce one off paper based communications as required, and we retain the notice boards in town for agenda and other news announcements.
“Frodsham has pioneered the webcasting as a national first in town council terms, but I expect as the concept gains traction others will follow suit.”
Town and borough councillor Andrew Dawson pioneered the trial, having introduced webcasting to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) when he was Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny and been instrumental in the filming of Police and Crime Panel meetings.
He said: “For me there are several reasons for bringing in webcasting - principal amongst them is to make democracy more open and accountable. After all not everyone wants to spend time in council meetings - but will spend a few minutes reviewing the interesting part of a meeting. Webcasting has been very successful for CWaC and I hope it will be for Frodsham Town Council too.”
Cllr Dawson added that ‘collateral benefits’ included the opportunity to review what has been said at meetings, which he believes will ‘dampen down the worst excesses of the wild rumours that are sometimes put about’.
He also hopes it will usher in an ‘improvement in the behaviour of some of the councillors’.
“The webcast councils in December and last month were very different and positively mellow affairs compared with some of the antics we've seen previously,” Cllr Dawson said.
“Long may we have reasoned, reasonable and considered debates.”
The webcasting will be funded exclusively by the town council.