Town councils and other local government bodies are subject to new national rules which allow any member of the public to take photographs, film and audio-record proceedings and report on public meetings. While no prior permission is required to carry out this activity, local government bodies must provide reasonable facilities for members of the public to report on meetings.
A result of this change in the law is that council employees will now be identifiable in any public meetings. They may be recorded on video or photographed. Whilst the new rules in relation to recording the meeting must take priority over employees who wish not to be recorded, we recommend that you make reasonable efforts to protect employees where possible.
Some employees may be vulnerable adults or may simply not want to disclose where they work. We therefore recommend that all employees are notified by memo of the change in the law. If you are an EW client, your Adviser can assist you with a memo to employees. If any employees wish not to be recorded for a valid reason, reasonable adjustments can be made such as allowing them to present to Council from behind a screen or permitting them to feed back to the Town Clerk only.
We anticipate problems with unhappy employees further to the new rule and are advising local authorities to act first and inform all employees in advance.