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Council lifts Twitter ban after weekly’s appeal

A town council has agreed a three-month trial to allow people to use Twitter at its meetings after a weekly paper called on its local authorities to allow it.

The Rutland and Stamford Mercury wrote to town councils across its patch after reporter John Evely was prevented from tweeting from a meeting of Stamford Town Council in June.

Following the move, the paper looked into which local authorities allowed Twitter use during meetings and found that only one town council in the area would allow it, with the rest flouting government guidelines designed to allow it.

Editor Eileen Green then wrote to the town councils asking them to reconsider their positions and allow tweeting from their meetings.

Now Uppingham Town Council, which previously did not allow tweeting, has approved a three-month trial permitting Twitter use during all its meetings.

Eileen said: “We are delighted that Uppingham Town Council have agreed we can tweet. We hope other town councils in the area will follow suit.”

She said Stamford Town Council was still not allowing Twitter use at meetings, while Bourne Town Council was considering whether to allow it or not.

Mayor of Uppingham Dave Casewell told the Mercury the decision had partly been made because councillors realised members of the public would be able to step outside the council chamber to tweet regardless of their rules.

Coun Casewell said: “We were just concerned that it could interrupt the flow of meetings. Our preferred guidelines were that it should be used responsibly.

“It is a move forward in the right direction. We hope that those who raised the issue are pleased with the outcome.

“The council is very open anyway and all that tweeting does is allow more immediacy.”

The trial will be reviewed at the end of the three months and the town council delayed a decision on whether to allow filming at meetings to wait for guidelines from the National Association of Local Councils.

Guidance published by local government secretary Eric Pickles said people should be allowed to use social media and film council meetings.


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  • October 11, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Pickles was very clear on the matter and there should be no question whatsoever about discreet Tweeting or, for that matter, filming. As a senior reporter in the south west I regularly do both during district council meetings and would object in the strongest terms were anyone within the authority to try and stop me.

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  • October 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Good to see this council is finally dragging itself into the 21st century.

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