VALE Council meetings could be one step closer to being webcast to members of the public viewing in the comfort of their own homes.

The Vale Council will pilot a webcast this current financial year after it received a £40,000 Welsh Government grant, available to local authorities, to assist in the development of webcasting and remote attendance at council meetings.

The council is required to pilot webcasting of a small number of meetings as part of the terms of accepting the grant.

A separate audio/visual room was created during the council chamber refurbishment, which can host the equipment and allow for a technician to monitor the equipment and its correct functioning.

The Vale Council will have to consider costs of funding the operation of equipment and the most cost effective method of streaming the video footage through the council’s website.

The report, put before cabinet members (February 10), said: “It is envisaged that members of the public would access the webcasts through the council’s website and work has progressed with the suppliers of the system to ensure that the links to the website will be properly configured and that appropriate staff are properly trained in its use.”

It added: “The grant from Welsh Government covered the cost of procurement of the system. However, total costs for the associated web streaming and bandwidth requirements if the system was to be used effectively are not yet known. The bandwidth required to deliver the webcast depends on the number of individuals who want to view the meeting online at the same time and this is an unknown quantity at present and may well grow over time if the council adopts webcasting and it becomes more popular with the general public.”

Additional funding would be needed for webcasting to continue.