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Technology Can Help Open Access to Council Meetings

7th March 2008

The Highland Council is to investigate webcasting council meetings, starting with the live transmission of meetings of the Planning Environment and Development Committee that are held at Council Headquarters in Inverness.

It is also to establish a protocol for allowing councillors to take part in council meetings by use of video conferencing.

Speaking for the Administration, Councillor Drew Hendry, Chairman of the Planning Environment and Development Committee, said the Administration strongly supported webcasting of meetings.

He said: "In an area as large and rural as Highland, the use of technology is sure to benefit those people, who are interested in local democracy. On webcasting, we need to ensure that all of the legal and operational issues are fully explored and then we will bring a report back to Council for future determination. We know that the public is particularly interested in planning issues and this seems an appropriate committee to pilot this initiative. People can either watch our meetings live or view an archive of meetings as an when they find convenient.

"We are already using video conferencing, but before rolling this out more widely we need to establish a protocol for its use and application and we will bring back a report to our Resources Committee."

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