Eric Pickles opens up reporting of council meetings

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
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PUBLIC council meetings can now be filmed and Tweeted about, following the introduction of new legislation.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles today signed a Parliamentary order allowing press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies.

The Openness of Local Government Regulations, builds on Margaret Thatcher’s Private Members’ Bill from the 1960s.

That bill allowed for the written reporting of council meetings by the press.

Following the passage of both primary and secondary legislation, the new law aims to end active resistance amongst some councils to greater openness.

Mr Pickles said: “Local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council, and increasingly, people read their news via digital media.

“There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these new rights.

“Parliament has changed the law, to allow a robust and healthy local democracy.

“This will change the way people see local government, and allow them to view close up the good work that councillors do.”

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “Dozens of meetings open to the public are held every year and the city council has always welcomed people to them.”