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Don't look now

Graham Smith | 20:16 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

Back in May a full meeting of Cornwall Council voted to allow broadcasters to film and record inside the council chamber. At this week's meeting, four months later, the cameras were still banned. So what's going on?

My inquiries reveal that there is something called the Member Development Working Group. It is chaired by the council chairman, councillor Pat Harvey. This working group
asked for a "draft protocol" to be agreed by them before returning to full Council.

I don't think the "draft protocol" can be a very difficult thing to draft. Broadcasters had no problems working their way around the former Cornwall County Council chamber prior to 2009.

The council tells me:

"As there are only two full council meetings this year and it is unlikely the draft protocol will have been agreed by the timescale for the October meeting and the November meeting will be considering the Council's budget , a report is scheduled to go before full Council in January. If the protocol is agreed at that meeting it is hoped that it could be implemented immediately afterwards."

All I can say is that the Member Development Working Group must have an extremely onerous workload for it to have been unable to agree the "protocols" for letting the cameras in.

Apparently meetings of the Member Development Working Group have been arranged to agree the draft protocol. I'd like to tell you more about it, such as when it plans to meet, and who its members are, but not only are broadcasters not allowed in to its meetings, neither are members of the public. It doesn't even publish its agendas.

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