Council Could Webcast Weddings

Council Chamber at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

The Council could use their webcasting system to stream weddings live to the mainland.

That was one of the suggestions made during a Council debate on its use of webcasting technology.

Community Relations Officer, George Pearson, told members that their webcasts are watched by a higher number per head of population than almost any other authority.

He said webcasts of Planning meetings are the most popular, getting over 100 hits per session, while Full Council, General Purposes, Community Services and Policy and Resources aren’t far behind, pulling in around 90 views per meeting.

The Council pays a mainland company, Public-i, to stream their meetings at a cost of just over £15,000 per year. That gives them 60 hours of streaming with each meeting kept online for 6 months.

But George told Councillors that they currently only use 48 hours of that and he suggested they use the spare capacity to webcast other meetings not currently on the list.

This includes meetings such as the Tourist Board, Licensing and Inshore Fisheries.

While Councillors gave a list of their favourite meetings to be included in the new list, Amanda Martin said she would prefer all committees to have occasional use of the webcam.

She felt it was important for the community to see how all aspects of the Council function and she was particularly keen to have the Standards Committee webcast, saying this would reassure people that their processes were “ethical and searching.”

One popular choice for inclusion in webcasting was the Shadow Health and Well Being Board, although Councillor Richard McCarthy disagreed, saying until it was a full-blown committee and not a ‘shadow’ group, there was a “danger of putting people to sleep rather than encouraging them to watch.”

George suggested that some of the cost of the system could be clawed back by enabling ‘pay-per-view.’ This would allow official ceremonies, such as weddings and civil partnerships taking place in the Old Wesleyan Chapel, to be relayed back to friends and relatives on the mainland for a small fee.

Councillors eventually agreed that all meetings currently not webcast should now be included using a loose rota, decided by the Public Relations committee.

However, if you’re interested in watching this particular debate on the webcast, you may find that difficult.

The system had broken down that night.