New rules allow filming at Sheffield meetings

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Residents will be able to film all public meetings of local government bodies in a move that today ‘brings councils into the 21st century’.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has signed a Parliamentary order allowing the Press and public to film and report from meetings using online tools such as Twitter.

The Government says it will increase ‘openness’ and updates a law from 1960 which first permitted written reports from council meetings.

Mr Pickles said: “There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these rights. This will change the way people see local government and allow them to see close up the good work local councillors do.”

The rules will apply to all parish and town councils as well as those of fire and rescue authorities. They come after some authorities across the country blocked residents, journalists and even councillors from covering meetings.

Sheffield Council said it already accommodates requests to film public meetings and did not restrict use of social media as long as it did not disrupt the meeting.

A spokesman added: “We are checking to make sure the council is properly following the new regulations and guidance and to see whether we need to change anything in our existing protocol.”