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Council plan to replace written minutes with video clips dismissed

Monmouthshire County Council

A COUNCIL plan to replace written minutes with video clips has been dismissed as ‘inadequate’ by its own audit team. 

It was revealed in October last year Monmouthshire County Council intended replacing written minutes – the official record of proceedings intended to give an overview of discussions of each item at council meetings – with links to video recording. 

The authority streams nearly all of its committee meetings, and every full council meeting, live on its You Tube channel and since July last year has tried to avoid producing written minutes by publishing a brief summary of the item for discussion with a link to the start of the debate in the full length video.   

But the council’s annual governance statement has listed a review of the minute taking process “to ensure accurate minutes are held of all meetings” as an area for improvement. 

Jan Furtek, the council’s acting chief internal auditor, was asked to explain why the council needed to improve its minute taking by Andrew Blackmore the independent chairman of the governance and audit committee. 

Mr Furtek said the council had last year wanted to look at “digitising the minute taking process further” but an internal review has found the use of links to video clips isn’t up to standard. 

He said: “One of the areas we looked at was the minute taking process and it was concluded that the minutes were not adequate for a number of different council committees.” 

He added: “The issue was that minutes would basically not detail the actual discussion it would just provide a link to a You Tube recording and obviously that doesn’t tell you anything and if You Tube goes down, whether now or in the future, then our minutes wouldn’t actually accurately reflect any discussion that happened during the committee meetings so that’s something that’s being worked through at the moment.”

A report is being prepared with senior officers to be presented in September.