Photography, filming and social media use in committee meetings

Which meetings permit the use of photography, filming and use of social media, who can be filmed and exceptional meetings where filming cannot take place.

Can I record, film, take photographs or use social media during meetings?

Yes, during meetings that are open to the public, under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 you can:

  • film
  • audio record
  • take photographs
  • use social media
  • Use any other means for enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later.

Verbal reporting or verbal commentary on a meeting as it takes place by a person present at the meeting is not permitted.

The chairman has the right to terminate or suspend proceedings should such activities cause disruption during the meeting.

Closed or private meetings (due to the discussion of confidential or exempt information) cannot be filmed or audio recorded, nor can members of the public be in attendance.

Please note: should you wish to film, record or photograph open meetings we kindly request that you contact democratic services in advance so that suitable provision can be made.

Who can be filmed?

When filming, photographing or recording meetings, you should focus on recording councillors, officers and the individuals who are directly involved in the conduct of the meeting. Members of the public who do not wish to be filmed or photographed should have their wishes adhered to.

What sort of facilities should councils provide?

Councils are required to provide 'reasonable facilities' to facilitate the recording of meetings, such as a designated space to view and hear the meeting, seats and, where space allows, a desk.

Can I object to being filmed/photographed during meetings?

Members of the public who do not wish to be filmed during meetings should make this known to the committee manager or chairman and those filming, photographing or recording meetings should respect those wishes.

Are there any meetings I can’t record, film or take photographs in?

Where the meeting contains exempt information as set out in the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, the committee may agree to formally exclude the press and public from the meeting, thus terminating the recording/filming of the meeting.

What is classed as 'exempt information'?

The exempt information set out at Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 Act is as follows:

  1. Information relating to any individual.
  2. Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
  3. Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
  4. Information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under, the authority.
  5. Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
  6. Information which reveals that the authority proposes -
    (a) to give under any enactment a notice under or by virtue of which requirements are imposed on a person; or
    (b) to make an order or direction under any enactment.
  7. Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.

Who should I contact if I want to film, record or take photographs during a meeting?

If you wish to film, record or take photographs during open meetings please contact democratic services in advance of the meeting so that suitable provision can be made:

Tel: (01482) 393201/7

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