Lewisham Council has forked out more than £26k for a service to broadcast its meetings – but has only used it once due to “technical issues”.

Lewisham is in a 12-month contract worth £26,330 with provider Public-I to stream council meetings as they happen, with the clips available online afterwards.

But a council spokesperson said “technical issues” have “impacted on our ability to use the system fully.”

This includes the council’s microphones not working with the gear leased from Public-I.

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These technical issues would need to be resolved before the council could webcast meetings, but no formal decision to stream council meetings has been made.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service also understands the council’s contract with Public-I includes an immediate response to any technical issues.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We introduced webcasting on a trial basis in May 2018 when the Annual General Meeting was live-streamed.

“We currently have a one-year contract for this service. Unfortunately, subsequent technical issues have impacted on our ability to use the system fully.”

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The “merits” of webcasting council meetings are being considered by the local democracy review – a group of councillors researching Lewisham’s transparency and openness with hopes to increase public involvement in council decisions.

However, the councillors undertaking the review can only make recommendations, which would then have to be approved by the council.

This also follows a unanimously-passed Green Party motion to webcast Lewisham Council meetings in 2010.

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The motion called on the then-Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, to investigate costs and set out a timetable for putting meetings online.

The motion highlighted that access to meetings was an equalities issue, with certain groups, including those with disabilities less able to attend meetings.

Many other local authorities webcast their meetings, including Southwark, Greenwich, Croydon, and Tower Hamlets.