Tweet moment for bloggers as councils ‘go live’

King's Lynn Anti Incinerator campaigners - Michael De Whalley ENGANL00120130225125631
King's Lynn Anti Incinerator campaigners - Michael De Whalley ENGANL00120130225125631
Have your say

Campaigners and council chiefs have welcomed government moves to force public bodies to allow the recording and digital reporting of meetings.

New rules have come into force this week which will give both the media and the wider public the right to film or report proceedings as they happen via social networking sites, such as Twitter.

Council  Leader Nick Daubney ENGANL00120120815120135

Council Leader Nick Daubney ENGANL00120120815120135

And a leading figure in the fight against the Lynn incinerator proposal has suggested those in authority might have acted differently had those rules been in place then.

Michael de Whalley, founder of King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN), said: “I certainly welcome more open local government.

“For a campaign group, it would have been very helpful to openly record what was going on.”

Mr de Whalley cited a March 2011 meeting where Norfolk County Council’s then cabinet decided to go ahead with the contract with the Saddlebow scheme, only days after more than 65,000 
West Norfolk residents voiced their opposition to the scheme in a local poll.

He said: “The attitude that they had was appalling and, had they known that could have been recorded and used against them, it could have been very different.”

The new rules, which were issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government on Tuesday, apply to all public meetings, including town and parish councils plus fire and rescue authorities.

West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said: “We welcome this initiative and see social media as another way of engaging with and involving the local electorate.

“We have been using our current orders to support social media use at council meetings and have established a task group to review our policies so as to ensure that we embrace this way of communicating with residents.”

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said there was no excuse for authorities not to comply with the regulations.

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

n What do you think? Will this encourage you to take more interest in what public bodies are doing in your communities? Email your views to