Four new IT jobs at Nottinghamshire Council to support £437k meeting and live-streaming technology

New technician jobs will be created at Nottinghamshire Council as the authority invests in new hybrid meeting technology for staff and live-streaming cameras for major meetings.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 9:17 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 9:17 am

The Conservative-led authority is set to approve the roles as it looks to kit out rooms across its buildings to better host conference and online meeting facilities.

Further jobs will be created to control and oversee upgraded live-streaming technology in its County Hall council chamber, which a senior councillor says will ‘open up democracy’ to the public.

It follows the council approving the new technology in January, with £437,341.73 to be spent on the live-streaming and hybrid meeting room kits.

Coun Richard Jackson, Nottinghamshire Council portfolio holder for finance.

Previous documents stated £335,269.53 will be spent to improve existing equipment used to broadcast councillors’ meetings within the chamber online via YouTube.

The remaining £102,072.20 will be spent on new technology in meeting rooms to allow people to join via online meetings, with new monitors, screens and microphones included in the tech.

These costs, the authority says, include funding for staff to control and oversee the maintenance of the kit alongside the hardware itself.

Coun Richard Jackson, portfolio holder for finance, is set to take an executive decision to approve four IT roles so the technology can be maintained.

This will include an audio-visual devices services manager and a technical specialist to ensure the hybrid meeting technology is working when needed and providing any servicing to the equipment.

The AV specialist will be expected to be an ‘expert in the setup of the equipment, the technology employed and the infrastructure needed to run it’.

The remaining roles will oversee the new live-streaming technology for meetings in the chamber, which is currently kitted out with technology that regularly fails during broadcasts and is described as ‘not fit for purpose’.

Two new production engineer/broadcast technician roles will be approved to oversee this technology, ensuring meetings are broadcast to a high standard and then archived on the authority’s website.

In total, the four new roles will cost the authority £154,600 for the remainder of this financial year, before rising to £185,600 annually from 2023/24.

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Coun Jackson said: “The existing technology in the chamber is poor.

“Post-pandemic, we’ve not seen the number of people coming back to the public gallery and council meetings like we used to have, and this opens up democracy far more to people and it’s more accessible.

“As far as the internal technology and the meeting rooms, this is important and goes with how the rest of the business is moving.

“It lowers travel costs for people not having to come into the office for meetings and will save the council money in that sense.”

However, an opposition councillor has raised concerns with the plans, including the amount of funding allocated for the technology and the decision to push ahead when the future of County Hall is under review.

Coun Dave Shaw said: “Parts of County Hall now resemble sports bars with huge widescreen TVs everywhere you look.

“I am concerned the Conservatives are spending hundreds of thousands on technology at a time when they readily admit County Hall could be up for sale.

“Last week’s cabinet meeting has had just 111 views on YouTube, less than 1 per cent of Nottinghamshire’s population, so they are clearly still having an issue with public engagement.”