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LIVE broadcasting for all Powys council meetings, will be restored.

At a Powys County Council meeting on Thursday October 13 councillors agreed that live broadcasts of all council meetings need to be restored.

The recommendation comes from the Democratic Services committee after Cllr Graham Breeze championed the restoration of live streaming at their September meeting.

In May, senior council staff took the decision to stop streaming most of the council’s committee meetings live online.

The issues on live broadcasting are due to the need of having a Welsh language translation facility.

The council’s head of legal services and monitoring officer Clive Pinney explained that the moves to accommodate hybrid meetings which see some councillors in the chamber in Llandrindod Wells while others attend online, caused Powys to revert to its previous format of webcasting meetings.

Full council and cabinet were webcast live but scrutiny meetings were recorded and uploaded online later.

This was done “within 24 hours” said Mr Pinney.

At the Democratic Services meeting last month it was said that a return to full broadcasting “worst case scenario” costs would be between “£80,000 and £90,000.”

However, the cost is £3650 if the council uses Zoom Webinar software to broadcasting meetings.

Mr Pinney said that the use of Zoom webinar software which includes a translation function had been trialled during the last month and more work would be needed to ensure councillors understand how to use it.

Cllr Graham Breeze said: “I’m delighted to see this brought before us today.

“I was extremely disappointed to see broadcasts removed.

“As a previous cabinet member with responsibilities for corporate governance I was really proud of the way we had improved scrutiny on this council.

“It had been recognised by the Welsh Government that Powys was leading the way in holding scrutiny meetings.

“In the interests of openness and transparency I call on everyone here today to support this paper which will restore live access to the press and public.

“Access which should never have been taken away without the consent of the full council.”

Education portfolio holder Cllr Peter Roberts stressed that technology companies need to make sure that they are able to support more than one language in software they produce for online meetings.

Cllr Roberts said: “Everyone has a right to be heard in their own language and to have access to what their elected members are doing in the chamber.

“But the failure of the tech companies for two years has compromised those rights.”

“I’m pleased that officers have managed to find a way through that meets those objectives.”

The report was approved unanimously, and the council has 60 days to ensure that that all committee meetings are able to be broadcast live.

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