Tuning in to council television

Councillor Duncan Cumming
Councillor Duncan Cumming

Web broadcasts of meetings are just one of the options to be considered in a bid to make council business more “transparent and democratic”.

At this week’s final meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council before the summer recess independent coouncillor Duncan Cumming successfully proposed a motion calling for a whole range of measures to be considered.

Councillors will now create an all-party working group to look at the options.

Councillor Cumming would like to see all meetings filmed and made available for all to see on the council website, as well as an online public petitions system, similar to those already used in both the UK and Scottish parliaments.

His motion also suggests that council meetings should go on the road and be held across East Dunbartonshire, rather than always being in the Kirkintilloch headquarters.

A simpler way for residents to obtain detailed minutes of council meetings is also near the top of his agenda, along with more varied engagement with community councils and residents groups to ensure that adequate consultation is carried out before decisions are made.

A proposal to decentralise the planning board into area committees was rejected.

Councillor Cumming said: “This was a very positive outcome and essentially five out of six parts of the motion will now form part of a working group made up of all political parties including myself.

“I’d hope that the first meeting of the working group could take place over the summer - the sooner the better.

“Hopefully the ideas I have put forward and other ideas from other councillors can be incorporated. I think it’s really exciting.”

“I think we should have everybody’s views represented to futher democracy and make the council more transparent.

“Up to eight Scottish councils already do some form of broadcasting of meetings and there is no reason why we should not do the same.

“It will make us more acountable to the electorate which is one of the most important thisngs we should be doing as councillors.

“The motion was based on experiences I have had with constituents and with the council. We need to be better at allowing people to access democracy.”