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Council / More than 10,000 views of SIC meeting broadcasts so far

The council chamber at St Ringan's. Photo: SIC

THERE have now been more than 10,000 views of Shetland Islands Council (SIC) meetings since a new live broadcasting system was installed a couple of years ago.

The meeting which has recorded the most views was a full SIC session on 13 December last year, which had updates on the local authority’s inter-island transport connectivity programme and climate change strategy.

According to figures obtained through freedom of information, the meeting had 68 live views and 1,210 ‘archive’ views.

But there was a warning from the council that “robots and web crawlers” can sometimes affect the number of visits to an archive page.

The broadcasting system, featuring auto-track cameras and an array of microphones, was set up at the new St Ringan’s council chamber in Lerwick when it opened in 2022.

It was hoped that it would open up public access to local democracy and decision making.

Live and archive meetings can be found through this webpage.

Figures show that the meeting which has had the most ‘live’ views was a full council meeting in February, at 244.

Among the agenda items was a notice of motion regarding Israel/Palestine, and council tax charges for 2024/25.

The meeting with the least total views – 16 – was the pension committee/board in March last year.

The average view count for broadcasts in 2024, up to 13 May, was 168. However, half of these meetings had less than 100 views.

SIC leader Emma Macdonald said she felt the viewing figures are positive, and “show how local democracy is much more accessible to people”.

“As a council we want to be as transparent and accessible as possible and I would hope that this helps people to see how the business of the council is carried out,” she added.

“It also allows people who are considering standing in future elections to get a feel for the different committees and the breadth of topics that are covered within our meetings and hopefully encourage them to put their name forward [for the next local elections] in 2027.”

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