This is the text of a speech made by minister Eric Pickles to the Local Government Association conference on 3 July:
The other week, we issued a practical guide to the press and public on how they can report, tweet and film council meetings – embracing the digital age, rather than clinging to an analogue interpretation of press access rules.
There is still residual opposition. Monitoring officers say: “Our standing orders prohibit it without 3 days notice” – so change them! … get a better monitoring officer… or just ditch the standing order.
What does it say about the self-confidence of local government that, when you watch an episode of Grand Designs, when it comes to filming the Planning Committee the door normally remains shut?
What does it communicate about our faith in planning officers, and what does it say about the role of councillors in shaping where development should and shouldn’t go?
I want people to see the good work that councils do. The difficult choices, the trade-offs, the debate.
The best thing we can do to get more people involved in local government is open the doors. It can show what armchair auditors are already finding out – local government has plenty to be proud of.