REVEALED: Plan for every Portsmouth council debate to go live on camera

The Civic Offices
The Civic Offices
0
Have your say

EVERY council meeting in Portsmouth could be streamed live to the public in an effort to trigger more interest in local politics.

Tory council boss Donna Jones wants debates where key decisions are made about the city to be opened up to a wider audience.

Council leader Donna Jones

Council leader Donna Jones

The Tory administration enabled full council debates to be filmed live when it came to power in 2014, but now wants committee meetings to also be held before the cameras.

It comes after plans were approved yesterday to consult city residents over how to better involve them in future about planning matters.

It’s hoped constituents will then feel more involved and can have a greater say over changes.

Revealing the plans at a meeting over the council’s planning, regeneration and economic development affairs, Cllr Jones, said: ‘We are making the council as publicly aware as we can.

It will enable everyone to watch all the meetings; full council essentially doesn’t decide a lot but meetings such as this are where the key decisions are made.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council

‘We approved the filming of full council meetings and we are looking to roll that out to other meetings as well and have a camera in every room.

‘It will enable everyone to watch all the meetings; full council essentially doesn’t decide a lot, but meetings such as this are where the key decisions are made.

‘We are looking at more ways for the public to engage with the council.’

City Lib Dem leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson called for meetings to be held with businesses and community groups so they can suggest ways of improving the council’s advertising of planning matters. He said: ‘I am really concerned about the low levels of people involved in consultations.

‘I know there is a consultation about how we do consultations in planning; but I was wondering if we could have physical sessions for people – one for businesses and one for people involved in neighbourhood forums, groups interested in planning to be factored in, so we don’t just rely on it being an online survey.

‘We have to find more ways of getting people involved.’

Results from the authority’s consultation into this year’s budget – which has been slashed by £9m – showed just 1,281 people had their say.

That’s around half the number of participants who spoke up in 2015 about the future of services.

Cllr Jones admitted there needed to be more ‘education’ around the tools the council uses to try to get people to speak up – Facebook, Twitter, through its Flagship magazine and via its web page.