THE public will not be able to view East Renfrewshire Council’s first virtual meeting.

Councillors on the authority’s Education Committee are set to meet digitally today but residents won’t be able to watch live.

And a council spokesman has confirmed there are no plans to record the meeting, as the authority wants to ensure all members are confident using the new technology.

Meetings were suspended in March to help the council respond to the coronavirus pandemic, with decisions delegated to senior council officers.

But an Emergencies Committee, which was set up when the suspension was agreed, decided last month that meetings could return in June.

Other councils’ committee meetings, such as Renfrewshire Council’s Emergencies Board and Glasgow City Council’s City Administration Committee, have been recorded and published online afterwards.

One East Renfrewshire resident, who asked not to be named, has raised concerns about the lack of access, saying: “I think democracy is more important than a few councillors’ red faces.”

However, council chiefs have defended their position.

A spokesman said: “The Education Committee will be our first ever formal virtual meeting and we look forward to trialling this technology for this purpose.

“Once all participants are confident with using this technology, we will aim to provide recordings for public view of future meetings.”

It is understood meetings scheduled for later this month could be recorded and shared with the public if the initial meeting runs smoothly.

A report to councillors last month revealed it is hoped a “normal calendar” of meetings can be reintroduced following the summer recess. These meetings will be held virtually “until government guidance dictates otherwise.”

The council's IT staff have carried out an audit to ensure elected members have the correct equipment to participate in these meetings.

A connection guide has also been developed so councillors can join and take part in meetings without assistance. However, support will be available if required.

Alongside councillors, there are also religious representatives and teachers’ representatives on the Education Committee. The connection guide has been made available to these participants.