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Use of mobile phones, social media, filming and recording at meetings

This protocol provides guidance to members of the public, press and Councillors on the use of mobile phones, social media and on filming and recording at all formal meetings of South Lakeland District Council (including Cabinet, Committees and Sub-Committees).

Social media refers to the use of web-based technologies to share information and to interact with online communities, eg blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

Overview

It is important that Councillors who are members of the meeting can concentrate fully on proceedings and they must not be distracted by any filming and recording.

The Chairman’s decision on whether or not the meeting is being disrupted or disturbed is final. The Chairman has the authority to require the use of social media or filming to be stopped.

Whilst no prior permission is required, as a courtesy anyone proposing to film, record or take photographs during a meeting is requested to tell Committee Services before the start of the meeting and to provide their name and contact details.

We expect those recording the proceedings:

  • not to edit the film, recording or photographs in a way that could lead to misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the proceedings. This includes refraining from editing an image or views expressed in a way that may ridicule or show a lack of respect towards those being photographed, recorded or filmed
  • to comply with any request of a member of the public not be to filmed, recorded or photographed
  • not to provide an oral commentary during the meeting as this could be disruptive
  • not to use flash photography

If intending to bring large equipment or wishing to discuss any special requirements, please contact Committee Services in advance of the meeting in order, where possible, for any necessary arrangements or adjustments to be made. The Chairman may direct that audio and visual recording or photography must only take place from a specific location in the meeting room (normally from the public gallery area).

The Chairman will, at the beginning of the relevant meeting, make an announcement that the meeting will be filmed, recorded or photographed and will ask if anyone objects to this.

Filming, videoing, photography and recording of meetings

The filming, videoing, photographing or recording of Council meetings or other meetings which are open to the public is allowed, providing it does not disturb the conduct of the meeting.

The Chairman of the meeting will have the power to rescind this permission if it is disruptive or distracting to the good order and conduct of the meeting, for example through flash photography or intrusive camera equipment.

Councillors who are members of a meeting shall not be permitted to record, film, video or photograph the meeting.

All those filming a meeting are requested to only focus on recording councillors, officers and the public who are directly involved in the conduct of the meeting.

If a meeting passes a motion to exclude the press and public then, in conjunction with this, all rights to film, video photograph or record the meeting are removed.

We cannot accept liability for any equipment that may be lost, stolen or damaged at its public meetings.

Filming members of the public

In the case of members of the public speaking at meetings (at Planning Committee, for example) the Chairman will ask each individual to give their express permission to being filmed and they will not be filmed if they actively object.

Use of mobile devices and social media

To minimise disruption to others attending the meeting, all attendees including Councillors must ensure that their phone or other mobile devices are switched off or set to silent mode during the meeting.

The use of social media in formal meetings is permitted for members of the public, press and Councillors, so long as this does not cause any disruption or disturbance. The Chairman’s decision on this point is final.

No Councillor in attendance, whether a decision-maker or observer, is permitted to use social media or mobile devices during a private session (when the press and the public are excluded), or to disclose in any way the content of the items under discussion.

The Members’ Code of Conduct will apply when using social media. Inappropriate comments made during a meeting could open Councillors to potential complaints or investigation under the Code of Conduct.

Legal responsibility

Recording and reporting our meetings is subject to the law and it is the responsibility of those doing the recording and reporting to ensure compliance. This will include the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act and the laws of libel and defamation.

Contact us

Committee Services Team (for members of the public)

Telephone: 01539 793 187
Email: committeeservices@southlakeland.gov.uk

Communications Team (for member of the press)

Telephone: 01539 793 300
Email: communications@southlakeland.gov.uk