If you’ve ever felt reading through an online agenda for a city committee was like trying to decipher hieroglyphic writing, the city is now providing you with a decoder ring of sorts.
Thanks to support from a number of city councillors, staff have begun including short summaries of motions in some committee agendas. Currently, the synopses are posted in agendas for next week’s Community and Protective Services Committee and Civic Works Committee, but it’s hoped the brief rundowns will eventually be incorporated into all online committee agendas.
“Over the course of the past year there’s been a number of improvements to the city’s website especially in terms of how people might be able to access certain information,” Ward 11 Councillor Stephen Turner tells AM980.
Turner was one of those rallying for inclusion of plain language in City of London documents so that residents might better understand what’s happening at 300 Dufferin. The motion summaries will aid in that goal, he says.
“The committee structure is somewhat enigmatic,” says Turner. “People might not understand what they’re looking at, the agendas don’t really describe (a motion) until you pull up the item itself so myself and a lot of councillors have been looking for increased accessibility on our website and think this is going to start doing the trick.”
Turner says he thinks the city will eventually provide short summaries on all online committee agendas.
One other feature Turner touts as increasing accessibility to City Hall proceedings is the archived video feed that lives on the city’s website. Londoners can log on and go directly to the discussion they’re interested in.
These are good advancements, Turner says, but notes there are still ideas he’s pushing for including audit information being posted on the city’s homepage so that residents can quickly see how the corporation is doing.
“This all links back to Council’s strategic plan where we wanted to make sure we were an open and accessible government,” Turner says.