March 7, 2019 2.15 pm This story is over 55 months old

Boston councillor blasts “undemocratic” decision to stop recording meetings

Meetings have been recorded since 2013

A Boston Borough Councillor has criticised what he calls an “undemocratic” decision by the authority to stop recording meetings.

Bostonian Independent Group member Brian Rush is calling for a “full investigation” into the change.

The council has been recording meetings since around the end of 2013.

Previously copies of recordings could be requested – particularly under Freedom of Information.

Councillor Rush has himself asked for recordings, and believes part of the reason was due to his requests.

He said the move was the “undemocratic treatment of councillors attempts to properly hold senior officers to account”.

“This facility has a long history of use and support for our council business,” he said.

“I myself have evidence of that use in sensitive situations.

“This facility had, in my opinion, previously been used and provided to support and uphold the democratic rights of the public, as well as protecting the interests of the authority.

“I am of the opinion that this occurrence may undermine public confidence in the reliability of those services carried out within Boston Borough Council.”

A council spokesman said the decision was due to operational and resource issues, adding this would not stop others from taking recordings.

They said: “The Council does not have a legal duty to record meetings, and following changes to legislation […] anyone may record a meeting of the council.

“The public and elected members are not prejudiced in any way due to the ability to be able to individually record meetings.”

They said a review would be taken in 12 months to see if there had been any negative outcomes as a result.

A number of councils across the area record meetings, with some such as East Lindsey District Council publishing the audio afterwards.

West Lindsey District Council webcasts its meetings, allowing residents to watch them back afterwards.

Lincolnshire County Council also has a full video stream of its full council meetings.