‘Web casting is a waste of money’ claims Havering councillor

A COUNCILLOR has branded Havering Council’s �18,000 per year web casting service as a waste of money after it was revealed that only a couple of hundred people are tuning into full council broadcasts.

Cllr Ray Morgan (Residents’ Association, Hacton) hit out at the news that the full council meetings have an average viewing of just 233 people per full council meeting

He said: “It doesn’t seem to be good use of what is increasingly scarce funds and we don’t know who the people are that are actually tuning into it.

“If we think that we are just going to get hundreds of young people watching the council meetings, it is not going to happen and there are better ways of spending the money.”

The figures were revealed by the Cabinet member for community safety, Cllr Geoffrey Starns at last Thursday’s full vouncil meeting following a question by Cllr Ray Morgan.

Cllr Starns also revealed that the council tax meeting pulled in the largest number of viewers, with 407 people tuning in.

The total viewings for council cabinet meetings was 1,245, giving an average of 155 people per meeting.

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Cllr Morgon said: “There are still a lot of things that are unclear about these figures because it could be councillors and political activists tuning into the meetings rather than residents.”

But Cllr Starns argued that the internet was the way forward for the council.

He said: “The internet has become an increasing part of our everyday life and the majority of people that come to our council meetings are the older generation so as a council we need to welcome young people, and the internet is their preferred type of communication.

“There are also lots of members of our community stuck at home whose only way of engaging is through the web.

“It is the way forward and I am sure that in a year’s time the figures will go up.”

The service, which allows people to view the council’s meetings from their own homes, was fist introduced last December.

But on its first attempt it failed because of a technical problem.

Cllr Morgan said: “The council spends a huge amount of money on communication but the message does not always get across and I think it is money better spent elsewhere.”

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