Photos show Councillor Greenland addressing Monmouthshire County Council's cabinet on Wednesday, 18th May 2011
A ground-breaking technological innovation by Monmouthshire County Council has allowed one of its councillors to take a full part in an important meeting, despite being 5,000 miles away. In what is believed to be a first for Welsh local government County Councillor Bob Greenland participated in Monmouthshire’s Cabinet agenda via a live link from Salt Lake City where he is currently visiting family.
Even though he was on holiday, Councillor Greenland was keen to discuss important issues including the county’s tourism programme and arranged a connection to the council chamber in Cwmbran via Skype using his laptop and a webcam. His image was projected in the chamber onto a 65 inch lcd digital screen where those attending were able to see and hear him clearly. Councillor Greenland was also able to see and hear colleagues without difficulty. The link itself was achieved at no cost and could pave the way forward for councillors to communicate when they are physically unable to attend meetings.
This is just one example of a number of technological breakthroughs pioneered by the council to create savings and increase efficiency. An ongoing programme of “agile working” allows councillors and staff to work from many different locations across the county while cutting down on workspace. Monmouthshire has also joined forces with neighbouring Torfaen and the Gwent Police Authority to operate IT provision from the Shared Resource Service base in Blaenavon. The council is a leader in the use of social media and has also worked in partnership with Torfaen to develop its twenty first century technology suite in County Hall benefiting the education of thousands of the county’s school children.
Council Leader Peter Fox said he was very grateful to Councillor Greenland for taking part, especially as it was seven o’clock in the morning in Utah. Once he had made his live televised appearance, Councillor Greenland was free to resume his family holiday and left for a morning’s sight seeing in Salt Lake City, content that he had made a valuable contribution to the council’s business, and all before breakfast.
Monmouthshire Council (@MonmouthshireCC on Twitter) tweeted during the meeting: "Councillor @MCCBobGreenland is signing off from the meeting in #Wales to continue his holiday in Salt Lake City #USA http://ow.ly/i/bIQl"
Councillor Phil Hobson (@larkfieldward on Twitter) tweeted:” #Monmouthshire CC At Cabinet meeting. Tech first, Bob Greenland joins meeting remotely and live from Western USA. Go Bob!”
After the meeting Deputy Leader of the Council, Bob Greenland @MCCBobGreenland: on Twitter) tweeted: “Joined Cabinet meeting via live link from USA to present new tourism signing policy. Able to fully participate in debate thanks to new IT.” This was then retweeted by Leader of the Council, Peter Fox (@MCCPeterFox)!