Plans to broadcast Dundee City Council meetings have been met with a mixed response from residents.
Some readers told the Tele they would tune in to live webcasts, while others believe it would make no difference to the council’s decision-making process.
The Tele took to the streets to seek local opinion after claims from Councillor Fraser Macpherson that proposals to broadcast meetings might never see the light of day.
Debbie Hart, 54, from Kirkton said: “I think it’s a really good idea and I would definitely tune in after work if the council meetings were broadcast.
“You never get to see what is going on at the meetings, so it would be interesting to find out.”
Annemarie Small, 51, from Tayport echoed that view and would like to know whether any residents’ worries are actually taken on board.
She said: “I would watch them. You find out if councillors listen to people and take on board what people in Dundee want.”
Claire Naren, 45, from Stobswell added: “I would only tune in if the issues affected me but I think it’s a good idea.”
But student Connor Baldwin, 22, from Stobswell, said the idea isn’t something that would interest him.
He admitted: “I don’t have an interest in these things or much to do with politics, so I wouldn’t tune in.”
The city council’s SNP group claimed in its manifesto for the 2017 election that broadcasting meetings was something it would look to push ahead with.
Then-SNP councillor Jimmy Black said the council needed to change the antiquated and secretive way it did business and he called for meetings to be broadcast.
And last week Labour MSP Jenny Marra called on the city council to broadcast all official meetings online in a bid to promote “transparency and open government”.
She said making the workings of the local authority more accessible “would allow voters to see how and why decisions in Dundee are made”.
Council leader John Alexander said his SNP group remain “hugely supportive” of broadcasting meetings and confirmed officers have been instructed to take the matter forward.
He said: “In our manifesto, we committed to introducing the recording and broadcasting of council meetings in our term and that remains the case. As far as I’m aware, we were the only party in Dundee to propose this in our manifesto.
“Meetings are currently accessible to the public in person, agendas and reports are made available in advance and the decisions also placed in the public domain – but it’s fair to say that we are hugely supportive of broadcasting meetings.
“In order to do so however, capital works would be required and there would be additional running costs.”
But West End councillor Fraser Macpherson, Dundee’s most prominent LibDem, said the council’s head of democratic and legal services Roger Mennie told him broadcasting meetings would require reconfiguration of the council chamber, including new furniture, staff and equipment for webcasting.
He also told Mr Macpherson the cost implications means officers are not in a position to put forward a proposal to elected members although the matter “remains under active consideration”.
Mr Macpherson said: “I have said to officers that I rather fear this is being kicked well into the long grass.
“Although I appreciate the challenging financial situation, it would be disappointing that something members across the chamber appeared supportive of simply does not happen.”
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