The corporate world has embraced video conferencing and paperless meetings for a long time. From meeting agenda software to cloud-based board management software, the business environment is up to date. It is high time that local councils accept the same technology. A well thought out piece on www.entrepreneur.com expounds on the value of face to face meetings but also emphasizes the need of e-meetings. In this succinct article, we explain the value of video streaming local council meeting for the betterment of society.
Many meetings held by the council of towns and cities are open to the public. But, few members of the community attend such gatherings. On an average, an individual is too tired from a long day at work to take care of daily chores and pay attention to a council assembly. Members of the community would rather finish their errands, prepare for the next day and have a good night’s sleep. For most, the task to dress up all over again and sit through decisions of topics that hold no interest is a waste of time.
While all these may be valid reasons and completely understandable, they lead to decisions made by the officials without any input from the local citizens. Furthermore, when elected authorities make decisions in isolation, there is no transparency to the process. There is no way to hold the authorities accountable. A compromise to this problem – the need to keep an eye on officials and the inability of the public to do so – is video streaming the council meetings. A streamed assembly will allow the public to attend the meeting remotely. Hence, give them the ability to participate from the comforts of home.
For the elected officials, it is beneficial because they get to hear the input, doubts and queries of the citizen. The entire process becomes more transparent and efficient. A council gathering that is monitored can even be sufficient enough to change the minds of the officials on certain topics if so needed. Another benefit of paperless meetings is the communication channel it opens up. The discourse is not one-sided. All the members of the meeting can put their views forward. Such meetings allow the public to ask any questions they have as the decision is being made.
As a result, a real-time problem-solving meeting occurs instead of retroactive solutions being found. It is not just raising questions that can better a public council meeting, but the reactions of the locals to an agenda that is put on the stage. A video streamed meeting also gives the council members the freedom to answer queries on the go. They can choose to stop mid-way to field reactions or take them up at the end. When officials know that they are being watched and monitored, they tend to make more accurate decisions. They consider the fact that they can be held accountable for the consequences.
With so many plus points of video streaming software and meeting agenda software that keep track of the gathering, it is hard to imagine that they have not become ubiquitous.