Saturday 3 December 2022
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Nottingham

Pictures: Council’s £400,000 live streaming system broadcasts for first time – to 33 viewers

A video conferencing system which cost a council £400,000 has begun broadcasting meetings online.

At 3 pm just 33 people had viewed the video live.

Nottinghamshire County Council spent the money to update its remote meeting and live-streaming technology in the council chamber.

Earlier this year some councillors raised concerns over the decision to invest in the system during a cost of living crisis.

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Five councillors either abstained or voted against the plans and six voted for them in January 2022.

The new technology includes wall-mounted displays and person-tracking cameras to focus on councillors when they speak in the chamber during in-person debates.

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It was used for the first time during a health scrutiny committee meeting at the council’s County Hall offices on Tuesday, November 15.

The Conservative-led authority approved some live-stream technology in two County Hall rooms before the Covid pandemic struck but the authority said the old equipment was “outdated and unsuitable”.

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Meetings are publicly broadcast on YouTube.

Cllr Sue Saddington (Con) said after today’s meeting: “I thought it was good.

“For people watching on YouTube, hearing voices doesn’t mean a lot but if you can see your picture they can actually imagine what is happening.

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“I think it’s very important that people can put a name to a picture.

“I think it is worth it [the money] because it is democracy and people can see there is no hidden agenda.”

But Councillor David Shaw (Ashfield Ind) said at the time of the vote that it was an “awful lot of money” on technology.

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He said: “I am having to support young people in my division to feed them.

“I cannot justify spending this on an internet connection.”

Councillor Kate Foale (Lab) shared the concern that it was an “awful lot of money” on technology.

Documents state the costs will be fully funded from a Covid funding grant.

A total of £335,269.53 was spent on improvements to equipment within the council chamber and the Rufford Suite, while a further £102,072 was invested in technology in committee rooms B and C.

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