Reporting at Meetings

In preparing this Protocol the Parish Council has referred to guidance published by the Suffolk Association of Local councils (SALC). 

1. Except where members of the public have been excluded due to the confidential nature of the business, any person may film, photograph, audio record or use social media to report on meetings of the Council, or a committee, including any public participation session.

2. Reporting is restricted by legislation to the proceedings of the meeting, in other words from calling to order to the official closure of the meeting.

3. In accordance with Government guidelines, Council policy does not permit the filming or photographing of persons under the age of eighteen or vulnerable adults without permission of a responsible adult. Any persons who object to being filmed or photographed and have moved to an area designated for this purpose should also not be filmed or photographed. However, the Council cannot guarantee that anyone will not be filmed or photographed.

4. Any person intending to report should give notice before the commencement of the meeting to the Clerk or Chairman of the Council. This will enable reasonable facilities to be afforded.

5. A notice indicating that meetings may be reported by use of filming etc. will be displayed at the meeting venue and a statement about reporting will also be included in relevant notices of meetings.

6. At the start of each meeting, the Chairman will announce that proceedings may be filmed, photographed or recorded and invite any members of the public not wishing to be filmed or photographed to move to the designated area.

7. Any filming or recording of meetings should be conducted overtly from a fixed point in an area of the meeting room specified by the Clerk or Chairman.

8. Live oral commentary will not be permitted at any time.

9. The use of flash photography or additional lighting will not be allowed unless agreement has been reached in advance of the meeting.

10. Recordings will not be made for reporting by the Council or any other person during any part of the meeting when the public and press are excluded.

11. Persons reporting on a meeting who act improperly or in a disruptive manner could be excluded from the meeting. ‘Disruptive behaviour’ would include any action or activity which disrupts the conduct of the meeting or impedes other members of the public from being able to see, hear or film etc., the proceedings. This might include:

  • Moving outside designated public areas
  • Excessive noise during debate
  • Intrusive lighting and/or use of flash photography
  • Asking people to repeat for the purpose of recording
  • Failure to observe this protocol

12. Those reporting on meetings should not edit the recordings, films or photographs in a way that could lead to misinterpretation of the proceedings. This includes refraining from editing an image or views expressed in a way that may ridicule, or show a lack of respect towards those being photographed, filmed or recorded.

13. Recording and reporting the council’s meetings is subject to the law and it is the responsibility of those recording and reporting to ensure compliance, including data protection and defamation. They will be responsible for any allegations of breaches of the law which may result from their use of recorded material and are admitted to the Council Meeting on the basis that they accept this responsibility. The Council reserves the right to initiate legal proceedings in appropriate circumstances.

14. The Council takes no responsibility for any recording made by others. It also takes no responsibility where a recording which it makes is subsequently used by any third party. Any third party making or editing a recording of a meeting shall in doing so be taken to have indemnified the Council against all actions, proceedings, costs, claims, demands, liabilities, losses and expenses whatsoever relating to the making or use of that recording.

15. The Council asserts no copyright or control over recordings of meetings made by itself or others whilst on Council premises, subject to paragraph 12 above.

16. Generally, archived recordings made by the Council will be available on request.