Media and Communications Policy
- This Policy
is informed by the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity,
as issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The
code is statutory guidance and therefore Councils must have regard to it and
follow its provisions.
- Failure to
follow the Councilís Media and Communications Policy could lead to a breach of
the statutory code and the risk of adverse publicity, which could damage the Councilís
reputation. It is important that all Councillors and officers understand the implications
of this code which this Policy explains within a local context.
- This Policy
should be read in conjunction with the Membersí Code of Conduct.
2 Approach to publicity
- The Council
welcomes enquiries from the press and media, recognising that a good
relationship with the press helps communicate effectively with residents.
- Equally, the Council recognises that taking a
proactive approach to communication ensures information is made available to
residents in a timely manner and is accessible via as many media sources as
possible including social media platforms.
3 Principles of communication
- The Code of
Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity identifies key principles
regarding publicity, and the Council will ensure any publicity:
- Is lawful
- Is cost
- Is objective
- Has regard to
equality and diversity
- Is issued
with care during periods of heightened sensitivity.
4 Official Farningham Parish Council press releases
- The Council
recognises that the use of press releases is a key technique for publicising Council
activities, decisions, and achievements.
An official Council press release is made on behalf of the Council as a whole.
- All press
releases will accurately reflect the corporate view of the Council, contain
relevant facts, and may include an approved quotation from an appropriate
Councillor. Releases will not promote specific political groups, publicise the
activities of individual Councillors, identify a Councillorís political party
or persuade the public to hold a particular view.
5 Requests for Interview
- Any request
for an interview with a Councillor or officer should be referred to the Clerk
(or other nominated officer) in the first instance. The Clerk, in liaison with
the Chair, will determine the most appropriate Councillor or officer to be put
forward for interview.
- Where a Councillor
is authorised to speak on behalf of the Council, it is their responsibility to
ensure they are clear on the corporate position of the Council, and that their
responses to questions accurately reflect this.
- Where an
officer is authorised to speak on behalf of the Council, they must never give
their opinion on specific Council Policy and must remember their role is to
provide expertise and factual knowledge in support of the Councilís agreed Policies.
- If a Councillor
has not been specifically authorised by the Council to speak to the media on a
particular issue, a Councillor who is asked for a comment should make it clear
that it is a personal view and ask that it be clearly reported as such.
6 Publicity during elections
- There are
specific rules governing publicity when an election has been announced. In the
period between the notice of an election and the election itself (purdah), all
proactive publicity about candidates is halted.
- During the
purdah period, all Council publicity shall be managed by the Clerk (or other
nominated officer), and any quotes provided in support of press releases will
be given by authorised officers.
7 Social media
- The Council
recognises that for some residents, accessing information via social media
platforms is their preferred method. While there are too many social media
sites to include all of them, the Council will endeavour to use those which are
most widely used, and regularly review the type and number of social media sites used.
- Social media
sites will be used to support other communications issued by the Council and
will help provide a consistent message across all media formats.
officers use social media in a professional capacity to represent the Council,
the Councilís corporate identity will be used and not that of any individual officer.
- Officers using
social media in this way must respect copyright, data protection, freedom of
information and other laws, and be aware of the risks of action for defamation.
Officers must not use insulting or offensive language or engage in any conduct
that would not be acceptable in the workplace or elsewhere.
8 General guidance for Councillors and Officers
and officers must ensure they do not disclose information that is of a
confidential nature. This includes any discussion with the press or other media
on any matter which has been discussed under confidential items on Council or
committee agendas or at any other private briefing.
and officers should always act with integrity when representing or acting on
behalf of the Council.
should not use the prefix ĎCouncillorí when writing to the press as an
individual. This implies you are stating Council Policy, which is not necessarily consistent with your opinion.
- Any Councillor
failing to follow the guidelines set out in this Policy may find themselves in
breach of the Membersí Code of Conduct and subject to a complaint to the
- Any officer
failing to follow the guidance set out in this Policy could face disciplinary action.
Adopted 4th. November 2020