Next Wednesday on a cold winter’s night all the councillors of Ipswich Borough Council and most of the senior officer team will traipse down to the Town Hall to have a meeting of the Full Council.
As wind farms or hackney carriage fares are not being discussed, there will be very few members of the public present. If it wasn’t for three bloggers who plan to be in attendance, including myself, the Ipswich public would hardly know anything of the decisions that will be made in their name by councillors next week.
As much as I disagree with everything Labour council leader Cllr David Ellesmere says, I strongly believe his every utterance in his role as a councillor should be heard by as many Ipswich residents as possible. That’s why I would like to see the Borough Council follow the lead of other local authorities and start webcasting key council meetings, such as the town hall meeting and major committee meetings at Grafton House.
Why doesn’t Ipswich Borough Council? The technology is simple, the initial investment is not onerous, and with the internet accessible by most Ipswich residents the democratic gain is enormous.
The Borough Council currently makes good use of social media like Facebook and Twitter, with alerts on bin collections during the current snowy cold snap being a particular good example. So why not develop democracy in Ipswich further by introducing webcasting? There’s no excuse really. Ipswich Borough Council has three IT professionals serving as councillors, which was four when I sat on the council, and two current councillors work for telecommunications giant BT at the firm’s R&D site on the edge of Ipswich.
Ipswich should have been one of the first councils to start webcasting. What’s stopping you, IBC?