Chance to listen in to council meetings

PARISH and Town Council meetings could be broadcasting live into resident’s homes thanks to a new audio webcasting app.

Developed by Essex based company Audiominutes, the app allows for audio to be streamed and recorded through a mobile phone. These recordings are then made available as minutes following the meeting.

The company has recently won the contract to provide online webcasting services to Essex County Council, who have now negotiated an option for all Town and Parish Councils in Essex to be offered the mobile service free for the first year.

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “As a Council we want to ensure our public meetings are as accessible as possible, and over the coming year there will be hundreds of hours of audio being made available from Full Council, Cabinet and Committee meetings.

“The issue with this technology has always been the cost, with the necessity of having to employ someone to monitor and run the system during meetings and having to archive large amounts of data.

“This new system requires no additional staff time, is good value for money and will provide further transparency to the democratic process.

“As it can be used simply through a mobile app, it is an ideal tool for parish and town partners who have the opportunity to engage more through the digital channels that their residents are using.”

Showcasing of the technology took place at the recent AGM of the Essex Association of Local Councils.

Kathryn Richmond, Town Clerk for Waltham Abbey Town Council added: “The subject of webcasting has been on our agenda for some time now but we couldn’t find a simple solution like this. We are delighted that Essex County Council have taken the initiative to support us in this way and are looking to move forward with this soon”.

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