Readers will no doubt appreciate an update on Guest Author ANDY STRANGEWAY’s challenge to SBC’s unlawful signage attempting to prohibit the right of members of the public to film and record meetings from the Public Gallery of the SBC Council Chamber. (Click here to read ANDY’s earlier report, and here to read comment from Enquirer crime correspondent TIM HICKS).
SBC Leader Councillor Steve SIDDONS repeated his commitment to “openness and transparency” in a statement from the Town Hall to the Scarborough News yesterday, stating:
“This is a public building, it’s the residents’ building and people do come here from time to time to have a look around but feel quite awkward to do that so we want to take that awkwardness away. It’s a fantastic building and there’s a lot of really interesting things here.”
Over to STRANGEWAY . . .
SBC: “We Disagree With Recording Legislation”
On 5 November 2019, I registered a formal complaint against Scarborough Borough Council (SBC), as signs are restricting the recording/filming of their meetings.
Please see SBC Recording Notices Breach Legislation (click on the link to read):
Brief Extract – Phone Conversation With Petra Jackson
Yesterday, in the name of Lisa Dixon, SBC Director of Legal & Democratic Services, instead of addressing my complaint I received a response referencing Government guidance in a 13-page document.
In an attempt to save resources, I phoned Petra Jackson, SBC Performance Manager. Sadly, Petra was most evasive and even stated that SBC disagrees with the legislation.
Ironically, the guidance Petra sent to me agrees with my position as it states:
- “Councils should thus allow the filming of councillors and officers at meetings that are open to the public”.
Invitation To Mike Greene, SBC Chief Executive
I am delighted to learn that Mike Greene, the new SBC Chief Executive, believes:
- “Prevention and early intervention is part of our DNA”.
On account of this statement, I have referred this rather sad situation directly to him and requested that he chooses one of the following ways forward:
- Option 1
Mike intervenes and ensures SBC remove all signs that breach legislation permitting the recording of meetings.
- Option 2
Mike declines my offer or fails to contact me.
If this is Mike’s choice, I will have no alternative but to:
- Publish the full recording of my phone call with Petra, in the public interest;
- Register a formal complaint against Petra for her conduct towards me;
- Refer my original complaint to Stage 2; and
- Request Mike to refer SBC to the Ombudsman for breaching legislation.
The recent legislation has been in place since August 2014 to prevent restricting the recording of public meetings. My complaint was registered over six weeks ago and yet, despite this, SBC has treated me, the public and the legislation with disdain.
Given the failure of SBC to conduct themselves lawfully and respectfully, if Mike fails to intervene to prevent further breaches by choosing Option 1 before 10.00am on 27th December, I will be forced to move forward Option 2.
I believe I am being reasonable.