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Conwy County Council criticised for retrospectively editing 2 public webcasts

Conwy County Council

CONWY council has come under fire after admitting to retrospectively censoring two separate public-meeting video webcasts.

According to several anonymous councillors, the censors most recently edited a Youtube video, erasing evidence of a council legal dispute.  

Conwy has since admitted to censoring a second public-meeting video in 2022 when it erased footage of what it describes as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.   

On December 8 councillors met at Bodlondeb to discuss the agenda, including the appointment of Cllr David Carr to the democratic services committee.   

After being put forward by the Green Independent party, Cllr Carr’s membership should have been automatically rubber-stamped by councillors, ensuring the 17-member committee was politically balanced.    

Instead, a vote was taken – the legitimacy of which was disputed – and Cllr Carr’s membership was refused, despite claims his appointment should have been a formality.  

Consequently, even though a vote had been taken and lost, Cllr Carr’s appointment was deferred, and the Old Colwyn councillor was eventually accepted into the group on January 26.   

But Conwy’s officers then chose to delete the controversial vote from the meeting’s Youtube video – a public meeting – bringing into question transparency and accountability.    

The item was not voted as a confidential or exempt item, meaning it was free for the press and public to attend.    

An anonymous councillor slammed Conwy for deleting footage of what was a public meeting.   

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“I was shocked when I was told that the council had edited the video recordings of its meetings,” they said.

“It undermines public confidence in the democratic process.    

“It’s important that the council takes action to put this right and ensure that the public can have confidence in the system.”   

A second councillor added: “I’m shocked that a video has been edited without authority from the membership in attendance.   

“Obviously I believe in democracy and accountability. It is not the reputation we want as a council.”    

A Conwy County Council spokeswoman commented: “We can confirm that a brief section of the public webcast has been removed retrospectively at the request of the monitoring officer.   

“There are occasionally exceptional circumstances, as in this case, where we must consider balancing the rights of individuals with the need for openness and transparency. 

“Following the setting-up of a new political group, there was an item to council in December to confirm the membership of the democratic services committee. 

“A vote was taken where councillors did not confirm the membership, and the councillors were advised that such a decision could be unlawful. 

“Therefore, the councillors voted to defer the item and for a further report to be presented to the January meeting. 

“The draft minutes for the January meeting aren’t yet published, but the council confirmed the membership of the democratic services committee.” 

When asked if any other videos had been retrospectively edited in the past year, the spokeswoman replied: “A brief section of a webcast was removed on one other occasion in 2022, due to a wardrobe malfunction.”   

Cllr David Carr was contacted for a comment.