Rain

Rain

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Colchester: Council tries to stop members Tweeting or updating Facebook during public meetings

14:00 23 February 2013

Councillors could be banned from Tweeting and posting to Facebook during meetings

Councillors could be banned from Tweeting and posting to Facebook during meetings

COUNCILLORS in Colchester could be banned from using Twitter or Facebook in public meetings.

A specialist committee set up to look at technology use at Colchester Borough Council has put forward the recommendation and asked the cabinet to make it official policy when it meets on March 6.

According to councillor Pauline Hazell, who sits on the Technology and Community Engagement Task and Finish Group, the subject of social media misuse is being tackled prior to council members being issued with iPads and similar devices.

She said: “It was felt that it would be beneficial that councillors had iPads. It will save on paper and mean they can access relevant information from the internet during meetings.

“But questions were raised about councillors who had used Facebook or Twitter during the meetings. There’s a concern this is not appropriate and that the iPads should only be used for the job in hand.”

She said councillors who did not already have an iPad would be encouraged to buy a tablet or similar device from their own allowances. Currently, the council spends £19,000 a year on printing out council agendas and reports for members.

Self-pronounced Twitter addict, councillor Sue Lissmore, who is a member of the group, said she felt councillors using social media during public meetings ran the risk of “getting an unrepresentative view” from residents.

She added: “In the ward where I live, many of the residents are elderly and they don’t use social media. If a councillor is asking for feedback on Twitter during a meeting, they are likely to only get a response from a select few which might warp their view.”

But popular online commentator Jason Cobb, who writes the Colchester Chronicle blog, said he felt councillors using social media during meetings helped make the democratic process “less secretive”.

He said: “With all the motions and jargon used at meetings, a tweet from a councillor can help clarify things. It can help in opening up the way the council works.”

0 comments

County Hall, home of Essex County Council. Photo: ARCHANT

People who die in ‘sheltered’ accommodation may not be found for several days as funding cuts mean staff numbers are reduced at the housing schemes, a tenants’ group has claimed.

Police on the Salary Brook Trail. Library image. Photo: ARCHANT

University of Essex students in Colchester are being warned by police to be vigilant after two women were robbed at gunpoint in the past week.

John Constable - Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831. Picture: TATE, LONDON 2013

History may have to be rewritten according to a meteorologist who claims the most striking feature of a famous Constable painting – a rainbow – may have been added in afterwards.

The sessions will be held at Suffolk Babies' centre in Kesgrave, pictured at its launch last year. Picture Sarah Lucy Brown

Today we are asking new parents to share their experiences of breastfeeding - was there too much pressure from healthcare professionals, did you get enough support and what factors played a part in the decision you made?

The drone used in Ipswich

Anglian Water has enlisted drone technology for its large sewers in Ipswich to monitor the conditions of its sewerage network.

A man posting letters with second class stamps. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

More than 90% of first class letters delivered in Suffolk arrive the next working day, new Royal Mail data has shown.

File picture. Police are appealing for witnesses. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Police are searching for a motorist who approached a 17-year-old moped rider in Barham, on Wednesday, February 15 with what is believed to be a knife.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24