CITY of Stirling is a step closer to live streaming council meetings.
Councillors at the June 12 meeting voted to move forward with implementing live streaming following a report by the City.
The report weighed community benefits such as increasing inclusivity, transparency and engagement against concerns about potential damage to the City’s reputation and legal risks.
It spent $7325 (excluding GST) on legal advice about possible privacy and legal issues that could stem from live streaming meetings.
The advice found there were no privacy issues but identified potential risks to reputation, with the highest risk rating pertaining to “unlimited public access to what is said and done at council meetings (including offensive or defamatory statements)”.
There were also concerns higher damages could be awarded where a defamation action was successful, it would create a permanent record of what was said and done, and offensive or defamatory statements would reach a far larger audience and be publicly accessible at any time.
Corporate Services director Ingrid Hawkins said legal advice was needed because of potential changes to its existing system, where meetings are audio recorded and available to the public on request.
“Moving to live streaming would require a number of changes and the City has a responsibility to fully understand the implications of those changes on members of the public, councillors and City staff,” she said.
Based on estimates from three live streaming vendors, the City expected it would cost up to $42,230 to install a single camera or $48,460 for two cameras, which would be a one-off cost, along with ongoing costs of up to $33,000 per year.
The next steps will be a councillor workshop about requirements including logistics and potential impact on attendees, selection of a vendor and purchase of equipment.
City of Joondalup has been streaming meetings since 2008, the City of Vincent introduced live streaming last May and the cities of Swan, Melville and Cockburn are investigating its implementation.