Council meetings

Agenda item

Response to the Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel Referral to Mayor and Cabinet - Facilities Management/Sound System Provision in Meeting Rooms - verbal update


The SGM Capital Programmes Regeneration and Place introduced the response, and apologised to Panel Members for giving a verbal response. He informed them that he would be contributing to the overall equalities response that would be going to Mayor and Cabinet.


Panel members were informed that a review of the audio systems in the Civic Suite, which included those in meeting rooms 1,2,3 & 4 would form part of the Democracy Review work. This would focus on the improvement of access to the public to participate in Lewisham’s democracy process.  The SGM Capital Programmes Regeneration and Place said that the wireless microphones in meeting rooms 1 & 2 were not working properly because of interruptions from  online phones, but a robust system would be put in place in both rooms. He added that meeting rooms 3 & 4 were smaller rooms and he hoped there would not be problems in those rooms, but would address issues if necessary.


The SGM Capital Programmes Regeneration and Place told Panel Members that the projection systems in meeting rooms 3 & 4 were out of date and consideration was being given to update them to LED Systems. Officers were also looking at ways of sending wireless information, to limit health and safety risk. He said webcasting of Council meetings will also be introduced as part of the Democracy Review, and the facilities for people with hearing impairment was being reviewed with the possibility of bringing back the loop system for easy access, plus the digital system.


The Chair asked how soon these systems would be put in place and was told it might take months because the meeting rooms were fully booked most of the time, and contractors do not want to work overnight and during weekends. Councillor Campbell said the loop system would be needed in all the meeting rooms as WIFI systems were not effective. She added that officers should also improve signage in the Council buildings. The SGMCapital Programmes Regeneration and Place said all of these issues would be looked into and the best value for money option would be selected.


Councillor Muldoon said officers could look at best practices in other boroughs. He said when webcasting was being done officers should investigate the possibility of simultaneous subtitling and the new projectors should be located at the best possible place. The SGM Capital Programmes Regeneration and Place said officers did some research into what other boroughs were doing. He said cameras would be focused on speakers and simultaneous subtitling would be done.


Councillor Bernards said he was disappointed this response was not in writing as people who did not attend the meeting might want to find out what was been proposed. He added that £26k had already been paid to a company who had not provided a service. The SGM Capital Programmes Regeneration and Place explained to Panel Members the contract that was agreed, highlighting that the Council only paid the infrastructure. He said the left over hours would be rolled over to provide service going forward. Councillor Bernards asked whether officers thought that money already spent was value for money. Councillor Millbank said that it was premature to evaluate the service before it had been provided and tested.


The Chair thanked officers for the update.