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Council / SIC to upload videos of council meetings

VIDEO recordings of Shetland Islands Council’s main committee meetings will be made available online from the start of next month.

A motion raised at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday said the recent roll-out of “hybrid” sessions which have included video contributions on Microsoft Teams has allowed the local authority to look into bringing meetings online more quickly.

Councillors meeting in Lerwick Town Hall in a socially distanced way. Photo: SIC

The motion written by chairs of the council’s committees, as well convener Malcolm Bell, said: “The council notes the need to learn from impact of Covid-19 related restrictions and build back better.

“The council notes the long-standing desire to increase public accessibility to decision making process.

“The council notes the success of hybrid meetings utilising technology and the ability to implement changes in quick order.”

Council leader Steven Coutts paid credit to those working in ICT helping to facilitate meetings going virtual during lockdown.

“It demonstrates that can-do attitude and I think it’s to be welcomed,” he said.

“I think we have to grasp the opportunity that we have got.”

Coutts said he would like meetings to be uploaded online on the same day but would prefer live broadcasts later down the line.

He also stressed a desire to see the full suite of meetings to broadcast in the future.

The idea received the full support of the council chamber.

South mainland member George Smith, though, said he hoped it could encourage “more political debate and less questions”.

Lerwick north councillor Amanda Hawick, meanwhile, said she called in 2017 for all council meetings to be streamed live and described the motion as a “step forward”.

The following meetings will be made accessible from 1 August:

  • Shetland Islands Council
  • Policy and Resources Committee
  • Development Committee
  • Education and Families Committee
  • Environment and Transport Committee.

The council had previously raised its desire to broadcast meetings once their home moved from downstairs in Lerwick Town Hall to the former St Ringan’s church.

The move is only going to be made once library services transfer out of the building.

Shetland Library is due to move to the old library building a stone’s throw away at Lower Hillhead once it is refurbished.