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Live Streaming and Publishing Recordings of Council Meetings Council Policy

Live Streaming and Publishing Recordings of Council Meetings Document No: CPL40.2
Approval Date: 20 September 2017
Approved By: Council
Review Date: 20 April 2018
Responsible Officer: Executive Manager, Governance & Legal Services Version No 00
Authorising Officer: Chief Executive Officer


1. Purpose

This Policy outlines the requirements associated with the live streaming and publishing recordings of Ordinary and Special Council Meetings via Council’s website. This policy will inform members of the public and Councillors on Council’s processes, the potential benefits and any mitigation action to manage potential risks.

Council is committed to improving accessibility and community participation in Council meetings. It is anticipated that the live streaming of meetings and making recordings available on Council’s website will provide greater flexibility and convenient access for residents, as it will allow the public to watch the meeting in real time via the internet without the need to attend in person.

This gives the community greater access to Council decisions and debate, and eliminates geographic and time barriers which may prevent the public from attending meetings in person.


2. Scope

This Policy will apply to all public Ordinary Meetings and Special Meetings conducted by the Greater Geelong City Council (Council). The policy does not extend to any meetings closed to the public in accordance with Section 89(2) of the Local Government Act (Vic) 1989.


3. References

  • Councillor Code of Conduct

  • Staff Code of Conduct

  • Meeting Procedures Local Law 2017

  • Local Government Act (Vic) 1989

  • Privacy and Data Protection Act (Vic) 2014

  • Freedom of Information Act (Vic) 1983

  • Copyright Act (Cth) 1968

  • Defamation Act (Vic) 2005 (or its equivalent)


4. Definitions

Chairperson means Chair of an Ordinary or Special Council meeting, usually the Mayor

Council means the ‘Greater Geelong City Council’

Council Meetings means Ordinary Meetings and Special Meetings that aren’t Confidential Council Meetings.

Confidential Council Meeting means a Meeting of the Council which has been closed to members of the public under Section 89(2) of the Local Government Act 1989

Defamation means words which convey a meaning (or “imputation”) about a person that lowers the person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of the community, or causes the person to be ridiculed, avoided or despised by members of the general public.

Exceptional Circumstances means circumstances where there is:

  • a risk or threat to public health and safety;

  • a threat of violence or aggression by one or more people attending the Council Meeting against others;

  • unlawful conduct by an attendee of the Council Meeting;

  • significant disruption of the Council Meeting by the conduct of an attendee; and/or

  • a reputational risk to the Council.

Inappropriate Information means information which amounts to, or could be perceived to amount to:

  • Defamation;

  • infringement of copyright;

  • breach of privacy;

  • offensive behaviour including discrimination;

  • vilification or inciting hatred;

  • confidential or privileged; or

  • misleading.

Ordinary Meeting means an Ordinary Meeting of the Council, as defined in Section 83(a) of the Local Government Act 1989

Privacy Breach means unauthorised access to, or collection, use or disclosure of personal information in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act (Vic) 2014.

Special Meeting means a Special Meeting of the Council, as defined in Section 83(b) of the Local Government Act 1989


5. Council Policy

5.1 Meetings to be Recorded and Streamed Live

Council Meetings may be video recorded and streamed live on the Council’s official Facebook page. The recording will then be uploaded to Council’s website.

Council commits to live streaming and recording and publishing all Council Meetings where it is practically possible to do so, including that the required equipment and internet connections are available to enable live streaming and recording and publishing.

The Council must give notice as set out in clause 5.6 of this policy that a Council Meeting will be live streamed and/or recorded.

Confidential Council meetings, or confidential sections of Council Meetings will not be video recorded.


5.2 Councillors, Council officer, public responsible for their own comments

Council Meetings are an open forum of statements, questions and answers. Occasionally, comments could be made which may contain Inappropriate Information.

By streaming and publishing recordings of Council Meetings, the potential audience is significantly increased, which also increases the likelihood and/or impact of Inappropriate Information.

Councillors, Council officers and members of the public are solely responsible for their own comments made during Council Meetings which are recorded or streamed. The comments they make, particularly if they contain Inappropriate Information, could give rise to a cause of action by an aggrieved individual who has suffered loss and damage as a result of those comments, and there is a risk that such cause of action could be prosecuted through the a court of appropriate jurisdiction.


5.3 Liability of the organisation arising from publication

While Councillors, Council officers and members of the public attending a Council Meeting may be held personally liable for any loss or damage suffered by a person arising from the comments they make, the act of publishing such material on Council’s website may also cause the organisation to be liable for any loss and damage suffered by a person because of the published comments.

In recognition of the potential legal risk to Council, the Executive Manager, Governance and Legal Services, may determine in their sole discretion not to upload or publish a recording, or to remove Facebook posts containing a stream of a Council Meeting, if it is reasonably believed it may contain Inappropriate Information or where Exceptional Circumstances are apparent from the recording. The Executive Manager, Governance and Legal Services may also take appropriate steps to respond to any complaint.


5.4 Public attending a Council Meeting may have their image recorded and/or streamed

Council will use its best endeavours to ensure images of people in the public gallery of a Council Meeting are not streamed.

People in the public gallery of a Council Meeting which will be recorded and/or streamed live must be given appropriate notice of the possibility of their image being recorded and/or streamed.

Council expressly provides no assurances to people present in the public gallery of a Council Meeting that their image won’t be recorded or streamed live.


5.5 No reliance on recording or live stream of Council Meeting

The opinions or statements made during the course of the Council meeting are those of the particular individuals, and not necessarily the opinions or statements of Council. The Council does not necessarily endorse or support the views, opinions, standards or information contained in the live streaming or recording of the Council meetings.

The Council does not accept any responsibility for the comments made or information provided during Council Meetings and does not warrant nor represent that the material or statements made during the streamed Council Meetings are complete, reliable, accurate or free from error. The Council does not accept any responsibility or liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that a person might incur as a result of the viewing, using or relying on information or statements provided in the live streaming or recording of Council Meetings.


5.6 Notice to the Public

When a Council Meeting is to be recorded and/or streamed live:

  • prominent signage informing all attendees of the Council Meeting that the meeting will be recorded and streamed live in the terms set out in Attachment 1 must be provided;

  • at the commencement of each Council Meeting to be recorded and/or streamed live, the Chair shall provide a statement to notify the attendees of the Council Meeting that the meeting will be recorded and/or streamed live in the terms set out in Attachment 2;

  • notice will also be given in the Council Meeting agenda as set out in Attachment 3; and

  • and where the recording is to be published on Council’s website, notice will also be given on Council’s website in the terms set out in Attachment 4;

  • a copy of this policy will be referenced in all online notices given under this clause.

The Chief Executive Officer, in his or her discretion, may from time to time update the terms of the notices to be given under this clause without updating this policy.


5.7 Technical Disclaimer

There may be situations where, due to technical difficulties a live stream of the Council Meeting may not be available. All reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that live streaming and the Council’s website are functioning, the Council takes no responsibility for and cannot be held liable for, the live streaming or Council website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond Council’s control.

Technical issues may include, but are not limited to:

  • the availability of the internet connection;

  • device failure or malfunction;

  • unavailability of social media platforms; and/or

  • power outages.

Where live streaming is the subject of a disruption, the City will notify the public on both its social media channels and the Council’s website (if those channels have not been functionally compromised).


5.8 Termination of live streaming in Exceptional Circumstances

The Chair has the discretion and authority at any time to direct the termination or interruption of live streaming of a Council Meeting where:

  • there are Exceptional Circumstances; or

  • the content of the Council Meeting is considered by the Chair to contain Inappropriate Information.


5.9 Access and Storage of Files

All recordings will be uploaded to the Council website within five business days of the meeting. Following a Council meeting, members of the public will be able to access and watch the recording on Council’s website.

These recordings of the Council Meetings will be published on the Council’s website for a period of up to 12 months and, where the Council Meeting was streamed, on Council’s Facebook page indefinitely, subject to the terms of this policy.

In recognition of the legal and reputational risk to Council, the Executive Manager, Governance and Legal Services, may determine in their sole discretion not to upload or publish a recording, or to remove Facebook posts containing a stream of a Council Meeting, if it is reasonably believed it may contain Inappropriate Information or where Exceptional Circumstances are apparent from the recording.


6. Reporting

Every quarter, Council must be briefed on the use and access of live streaming or publishing recorded Council meetings.


7. Review

This Policy will be reviewed within six months of a General Election by the Executive Manager, Governance and Legal Services in conjunction with the Chief Executive Officer.


8. Quality Records

Quality Records shall be retained for at least the period shown below.

Record Retention/Disposal Responsibility Retention Period Location
       
       
       
       
       
       


9. Attachments

Attachment 1

Public Gallery Notice

The following will be posted in a prominent location at a Council Meeting that which is to be recorded or streamed live:

This public meeting is being streamed live on the internet via Greater Geelong City Council’s Facebook page. The recording will be made available on Council’s website www.greaterGeelong.com.au after the meeting. What you say at this meeting may be live streamed or recorded and/or published.
All care will be taken to maintain your privacy, however, as a visitor in the public gallery your presence may be recorded. By remaining in the public gallery it is implied that you give consent to your image and what you say being broadcast and/or recorded.

You are personally responsible for what you say at this meeting. You may be personally liable at law for what you say, including in an action brought by another person for a breach of any relevant law, including for defamation, discrimination, privacy.

A copy of the Council’s Live Streaming and Recording of Council Meetings Policy is available on the Council’s website.


Attachment 2

Meeting Chair's Statement and Agenda Notice

Meeting Chair’s Statement

The following statement is to be read by the Chair at the commencement of each Council Meeting which is to be recorded and/or streamed live:

This public meeting is being streamed live on the internet via Greater Geelong City Council’s Facebook page. The recording will be made available on Council’s website www.greaterGeelong.com.au after the meeting. What you say at this meeting may be live streamed or recorded and/or published.
All care will be taken to maintain the privacy of members of the public sitting in the public gallery, however, as a visitor in the public gallery, your presence and what you say may be recorded. By remaining in the public gallery it is implied that you give consent to your image and what you say being broadcast and/or recorded.
Everyone at this meeting is personally responsible for what they say here. You may be personally liable at law for what you say, including in an action brought by another person for a breach of any relevant law, including for defamation, discrimination, privacy.

A copy of the Council’s Live Streaming and Recording of Council Meetings Policy is available on the Council’s website.


Attachment 3

Agenda Notice

The following statement is to be included at the start of the agenda of any Council Meeting which is to be recorded and/or streamed live:

This public meeting is being streamed live on the internet via Greater Geelong City Council’s Facebook page. The recording will be made available on Council’s website www.greaterGeelong.com.au after the meeting. What you say at this meeting may be live streamed and/or recorded and published.
All care will be taken to maintain the privacy of members of the public attending this meeting, however, anyone sitting in the public gallery may be recorded. By remaining in the public gallery it is implied that people attending the meeting give their consent to their image and what they say being broadcast and/or recorded.
Members of the public attending this meeting are personally responsible for what they say. Members of the public may be personally liable at law for what they say, including in an action brought by another person for a breach of any relevant law, including for defamation, discrimination, privacy.

A copy of the Council’s Live Streaming and Publishing Recordings of Council Meetings Policy is available on the Council’s website.


Attachment 4

Website Disclaimer

The opinions or statements made during the course of a Council meeting are those of the particular individuals, and not necessarily the opinions or statements of Council. The Council does not necessarily endorse or support the views, opinions, standards or information contained in the live streaming or recording of the Council meetings.

The Council does not accept any responsibility for the comments made or information provided during Council Meetings and does not warrant nor represent that the material or statements made during the streamed Council Meetings are complete, reliable, accurate or free from error. The Council does not accept any responsibility or liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that a person might incur howsoever arising as a result of or in connection with the viewing, using or relying on information or statements provided in the live streaming or recording of Council Meetings.

A recording Council Meeting may not be available from time to time. Whilst Council will use its best endeavours to ensure the live streaming and website are functioning, the Council takes no responsibility for and cannot be held liable for the temporary unavailability of live streaming or the Council website because of technical issues beyond its control.

Technical issues may include, but are not limited to the availability of the internet connection, device failure or malfunction, unavailability of social media platforms or power outages.




Page last updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2017
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