he Council has accepted the guidelines with a couple of amendments - firstly to remove the phrase ‘after the meeting’ from the citation of the Chatham House Rule. This allows for discussion of public documents prior to the meeting which would otherwise have been banned. The second amendment allows for an ‘open review’ of the guidelines now accepted and the development of a summary version of them similar to the Civil Service guidelines.
This second amendment is really important, I think. The summary will be the thing that’s actually used by most people and it will need to be very carefully worded. More important still will be the open review. Bloggers will have a key role in this. Let’s keep it gracious.
Update: Dave Warnock posts his own summary of the Council meeting
However, I hope that as we work through the review process we will also be able consider how we can engage with social media during meetings in ways that are healthy from a governance perspective while improving our openness, transparency and immediacy. For example my experiences of blogging and tweeting in meetings is that they greatly increase the care with which I listen, something that is surely to be welcomed.
I find this hopeful, too. We shall see how Conference debates this in the summer. I might have preferred more than an ‘invitation’ to the Connexional Team to keep the guidelines under review, but I trust there will be people in the Team and on the Council who will take sufficient active interest in the matter to ensure this is not forgotten. I also think the summary will be a good move – so long as that concentrates on values, not legislation.
I’d like to echo Richard’s call for gracious participation by bloggers in monitoring and discussing this. There is no reason why that cannot be so. Indeed, it should be so for us as Christians. I know there are times when I’ve flown off the handle about something and clicked ‘publish’ or ’send’ too quickly, but a Christian approach would involve consideration before publication. That needn’t mean a lack of debate, as I see it. We don’t need to become like the Chinese public looking over their shoulders at the secret police when weighing their words for the western media.