New tech solution enable democratic business continuity during pandemic

Challenge

Following the COVID 19 pandemic councils across the country were forced to cancel or postpone council meetings. Legislation for formal council meetings and technological constraints prevented holding remote meetings but once legislation changed to allow members to attend remote meetings and vote, Birmingham City Council took up the challenge to develop a technical solution that allowed the council to deliver council meetings online.

Solution

Birmingham Council’s IT & Digital Service (IT&D) was tasked with developing a technical solution that would not only allow council meetings to be organised online but also to be streamed live with voting capability for councillors.

IT&D looked at several different types of technologies and decided on developing a unique solution that combined the streaming element of MS Teams Live Event with the organising features of MS Teams including the capability of MS Forms to enable the councillors to vote in the meetings.

The combination of technologies was a bespoke solution and a first across the UK. Birmingham City Council are now supporting other local authorities in developing the same solution. Due to the growing interest from other councils, Microsoft have started rolling out this capability.

The diagram below illustrates the steps involved in producing a Live event of a Team meeting:

Impact

BCC has since delivered several online meetings, including its first online Full Council Meeting, Cabinet Meeting, Planning Committee and multi-agency Birmingham Health & Wellbeing Board Meetings via the bespoke Microsoft Teams solution, streamed over the internet using Teams Live Event.

Online meetings have enabled The Council to maintain its business operations throughout the pandemic.

comments powered by Disqus