FILMING and tweeting may be allowed at Huntingdonshire District Council meetings if changes to its constitution are agreed.

HDC is updating its policy on photography, broadcasting and recording following new guidance from the Government.

Under the current rules, videoing and audio recordings of meetings open to the public are allowed but only with the agreement of the committee chairman and only after giving three working days’ notice.

Last month, the Department for Communities and Local Government said filming councillors and council officers during meetings should be allowed so they could be held to account. It also suggested allowing the use of social media, something not covered by HDC’s current constitution, giving bloggers and tweeters the opportunity to report what happened.

The new guidelines were tested by Richard Taylor who attempted to film at a full council meeting on June 26. His request was initially turned down by HDC chairman Cllr Barbara Boddington. He was eventually allowed to film.

While the public gallery is empty for most meetings, the development management panel, covering planning issues, is an exception. Cllr Doug Dew, chairman of the panel, said: “If people want to turn up and film I don’t see why they shouldn’t. We live in a modern world and the technology is there.”

Local authorities have also been advised to come up with a policy for whether members of the public are filmed in the cases when people who object or supporting particular schemes or planning applicatins.

Christine Deller, HDC’s democratic services manager, has recommended the chairman of the meeting ensures that the wishes of anyone not wanting to be filmed are respected.

She has also suggested new rules should be implemented on an informal basis until approved by full council in September.

INFORMATION: The changes are due to be discussed HDC’s corporate governance panel today (Wednesday).