Southwark Council in London has recommended that journalists and members of the public be allowed to make audio recordings of full council meetings.
The shift in policy follows a series of changes introduced by the council last Wednesday as part of a Democracy Commission set up in May, when control of the council passed to Labour.
"Audio recording of the proceedings of a council meeting by any member of the public, media or councillor shall be allowed. Electronic recording, photographing or filming of the proceedings of a council meeting by any member of the public, media or councillor shall only take place with the prior agreement of the chair. The chair will make an announcement at the beginning of the meeting on any arrangement agreed," says the final report from the Democracy Commission published last week.
The cross-party commission was established to find ways to make full council or Council Assembly meetings more engaging and transparent to the public. As part of this, James Hatts, editor of London SE1, which has been running for more than 10 years, submitted a written paper and gave evidence in person to the commission. Relaxing the rules on audio recording were part of Hatts' recommendations.
"I'm delighted that some of our suggestions were taken on board," he says in a statement.
"It is not uncommon for the SE1 website to be the only local media outlet with a presence at council meetings and these changes to the rules will enable us to add a multimedia element to our coverage.
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