Last night the missus and I attended the full council meeting for Sandwell Metropolitan Council. I like to attend occasionally for two reasons. I like to keep in touch with what is going on and I like to make my councillors aware that some of their constituents are keeping tabs on their performance. So I always sit directly opposite them in the public gallery.
Acoustics in the gallery are never good but last night was an absolute farce. I know us oldies can have difficulties hearing but last night this was exaggerated to a large extent by the loud speakers in the gallery either being switched off or faulty. Usually there are just a couple of us listening to the debate but last night we had a full house well about a dozen if you discount the parents of the kids who had come along to present their film on climate change.
The security man who watches us was made aware of the problem but nothing was done to correct it. The experience was ruined for us and we left early very disappointed. One of my local councillors made a good contribution concerning our local academy and primary schools I think but couldn’t hear most of it.
I have this morning emailed the leader of the council and I include a copy here. I will publish the reply.
"Dear Cllr. Thomas.
I attended the full council meeting last night with my wife and sat in the public gallery. The loud speakers in the gallery were either turned of or faulty because although we could hear snippets of speech from some speakers others were totally illegible. The film from our young people contained so much background noise that it was irritating to my ears and hence spoiled their contribution. A least three requests were made to the security man but nothing was done. My wife and I left early because of this. Cllr Smith LD made a remark concerning the Cabinet member for community safety which I only heard bits of but it seemed to me to be offensive and rude. Could you please clarify her remark for me and can you in future ensure that the sound system in the building is working properly before the debate. Last nights performance was not good for local democracy.