Your local council could be a rich vein of content for your site. Covering council meetings is something that is happening less & less in the press. We have seen a number of sites that report on their local councils activities and meetings and do it very well, holding their decisions up to some scrutiny in the public eye.
Council meetings are almost exclusively open to the public, there are very few meetings which members of the public are not allowed to attend although there are occasionally agenda items which call for the meeting to be cleared of the public. There is nothing sinister in this, it could just be that there is very good reason why the council or someone named in the discussion needs to have the information out of the public domain.
The first thing you need to do if you want to cover council meetings is find out where and when they are held and get hold of a copy of the agenda, all this information is normally available on the council website, although, it can be quite well hidden until you now where to look for it.
If you can’t find the meeting information by searching your council website, try the fantastic Openly Local site, which is being updated with more councils each day. Look for your council in the list and then have a look at the information which is listed.
You should see at the bottom of the page, Forthcoming Committee Meetings & Committee Documents. These will give you all the information you need to know about the upcoming meetings at your council.
If you have never been to a council meeting before it is worth going along to a couple of different meetings to see how they are run. If you go to your full council meeting this will normally be once a month in the council chamber and will be quite formal with maybe the Lord Mayor chairing it. Sub committees may well be held in other rooms in the council building rather than the council chamber.
It is also worth having a chat with your local councillor, and seeing if they sit on any committees and going along to those meetings.
Next we’ll have a look at agendas and what items are likely to be of intertest.