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Listen when you want and where you want – Essex County Council to audio webcast its meetings

Politics / Thu 18th Jun 2015 at 03:55pm

CHANGES will be happening in some of Essex County Council’s meetings from this month to make them more accessible to residents.

At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 23 June the Council will launch a new audio webcasting system which will stream the sound live from debates as they unfold, available through the Council website and twitter feed.

Once broadcasting begins next week, residents will be able to find links to the audio from the ‘Your Council’ tab of essex.gov.uk, with recordings available easily alongside meeting details and agendas. They will also be able to jump straight to a specific agenda item, if that is all they want to hear again.

Cllr David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “I am a passionate supporter of local democracy and as a council we are committed to making our meetings as accessible as possible.

“We welcome members of the public to our meetings but know that not everyone can attend County Hall at these very specific times. Audio webcasting means people can still hear the meeting ‘live’ over the internet or pick it up afterwards – anyone who wants to listen can do so when they want and from where they want.”

The Full Council meeting broadcast is planned for 14 July. Committees of the council will start to come online one by one after 23 June as the chairmen are ready.

The new system has been provided by Essex firm, Confabulate, based in Saffron Walden. They have developed a new product called Audiominutes which has the added benefit of being designed to integrate with social media.

Residents can look out for tweets with links to the audio stream at the beginning of each meeting on the @ECC_DemSer twitter feed.

Antony Redfern, who runs Audiominutes, added: “Councils want to increase transparency and openness but at a modest cost and with no additional staff necessary.

“They also want to make it easy for members of the public to connect on mobile devices, so audio is the best choice. We are delighted to have been selected by Essex County Council; this contract award has led to two new roles being created in the county.”

Changes will be happening in some of Essex County Council’s meetings from this month to make them more accessible to residents.

At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 23 June the Council will launch a new audio webcasting system which will stream the sound live from debates as they unfold, available through the Council website and twitter feed.

Once broadcasting begins next week, residents will be able to find links to the audio from the ‘Your Council’ tab of essex.gov.uk, with recordings available easily alongside meeting details and agendas. They will also be able to jump straight to a specific agenda item, if that is all they want to hear again.

Cllr David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “I am a passionate supporter of local democracy and as a council we are committed to making our meetings as accessible as possible.

“We welcome members of the public to our meetings but know that not everyone can attend County Hall at these very specific times. Audio webcasting means people can still hear the meeting ‘live’ over the internet or pick it up afterwards – anyone who wants to listen can do so when they want and from where they want.”

The Full Council meeting broadcast is planned for 14 July. Committees of the council will start to come online one by one after 23 June as the chairmen are ready.

The new system has been provided by Essex firm, Confabulate, based in Saffron Walden. They have developed a new product called Audiominutes which has the added benefit of being designed to integrate with social media.

Residents can look out for tweets with links to the audio stream at the beginning of each meeting on the @ECC_DemSer twitter feed.

Antony Redfern, who runs Audiominutes, added: “Councils want to increase transparency and openness but at a modest cost and with no additional staff necessary.

“They also want to make it easy for members of the public to connect on mobile devices, so audio is the best choice. We are delighted to have been selected by Essex County Council; this contract award has led to two new roles being created in the county.”

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