Bosses at Hertsmere Borough Council have taken the unprecedented step of editing footage of a council meeting – before publishing it on their website.

On September 4, an extraordinary meeting of the full council was called to discuss the running of Elstree Studios, after an audit report raised concerns about governance.

The meeting was broadcast live on the council’s website – and the footage would ordinarily be made available to watch again within a few hours.

But after Wednesday’s heated meeting, officers at the council took the decision not to publish the footage in its entirety.

Read more: Tempers flare at extraordinary council meeting

They have made "a limited number of edits" to take out some of the comments that were made, before it can be published on the website.

Edits or cuts made to the webcast include three remarks – made by Cllr John Graham, Cllr Jeremy Newmark and Cllr Seamus Quilty – relating to the council’s chief executive, Donald Graham, who is currently on sick leave.

The following day, the personnel committee at the council approved recommendations to delete the chief executive role at the council as part of a restructure of the top management. The recommendations will need to be agreed at an upcoming full council meeting.

A further comment made by Cllr Paul Morris was also removed. This related to a relationship breakdown of two councillors.

Commenting on the action, the council pointed to their ‘duty of care’ to ensure no published material "is libellous, defamatory or relating to matters that are clearly of a private nature".

A spokesperson for Hertsmere Borough Council said: "When elected members speak at council meetings they do so under ‘qualified privilege’ which allows them to engage in robust debate on matters on public interest.

"In terms of the material that is subsequently published through our corporate communications channels, including our website, there is a duty of care and responsibility on the council to ensure that it is not libellous, defamatory or relating to matters that are clearly of a private nature. This is to protect both the council and elected members.

"For that reason, a limited number of edits have been made to the webcast from the extraordinary meeting of the council which took place on Wednesday 4 September."