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Item 13 - Press Release Protocol

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					           Press Release Protocol


           1     Introduction

           There has been some confusion amongst elected Members about the role of the
           Communications Department in writing and issuing press releases.     As a
           consequence, a Communications Protocol has been requested.

           The aim of the Protocol is to ensure that the Borough Council is seen to
           communicate in a professional and objective manner.

           2     Supporting documentation

           This Protocol should be read inconjunction with the following documents, all of
           which are available on the Intranet:

                 -      Members Code of Conduct
                 -      Staff Code of Conduct
                 -      Code of Conduct for Member/Officer relations
                 -      Website Acceptable Use Policy for Councillor Sections
                 -      Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity

           3     Information

           There are two types of press release –

           (1)   Official Council Releases

           An official Council release is made on behalf of the Council as a whole,; it will be
           written by an Officer and issued by the Communications Department. It is non-party
           political and includes a quote from the relevant Portfolio Holder.

           (2)   Councillor Press Releases

           Councillors’ press releases are personal and are written and issued by the
           Councillor responsible, or a nominated person in their party. This release may or
           may not be political and should not include the name of a council official or Officer,
           or a council telephone number as a point of contact. It would be beneficial for
           copies of intended releases, especially those of a factual nature, to be provided to
           the Communications Department.

           Councillors seeking advice can either contact the Communications Manager or
           Monitoring Officer.




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                                                                                  Press Release Protocol
                                                                                            th
                                                                                 Council – 8 August 2007



           4        Press Release Protocol

           The following forms the Protocol for Council Members and Officers.

                 •	 All official Council press releases will include a quotation from the relevant
                    Portfolio Holder(s). In some circumstances it may be appropiate to also
                    include the Shadow Portfolio Holder and/or Ward Councillor.

                 •	 In line with service standards all official press releases are to be issued on
                    the template provided by the Communications Manager. This template
                    includes the Borough Council logo.

                 •	 Official press releases will not identify the political party or group affiliation of
                    any Member(s) quoted in the release.

                 •	 The Communications Department is the first line of decision-making in terms
                    of what is newsworthy for official press releases, and shall make the final
                    decision on whether a press release shall be issued.

                 •	 The Communications Department has responsibility for checking, coding and
                    issuing all official Council press releases. This is in line with the service
                    standards.

                 •	 In the years when elections occur, during the periods from the issue of the
                    Notice of Election until the day of Election (“Purdah”), Officers will issue no
                    releases quoting Council Members. During “Purdah”, any quotes will be from
                    the Mayor or Officers.

                 •	 The role of Officers is to advise and provide support and advice to Council
                    Members in their communications activities.

                 •	 Council Members are solely responsible for the writing and distribution of all
                    councillor press releases and any Editor’s Letters to the media.

                 •	 All Council Member releases must not use the Borough Council’s logo.

                 •	 Officers and Council Members must act reasonably and responsibly.

                 •	 Council Members are reminded that they must not mis-use Council resources
                    (which include computer equipment) for political or other inappropriate
                    purposes. Should the Council receive a Freedom of Information request on a
                    topic on which there is correspondence (e-mail or written) from or with
                    Members, normally that correspondence would have to be disclosed, unless
                    it was exempt. The fact that disclosure of the correspondence may prove
                    embarrassing would not, of itself, prevent disclosure.


           v.2




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                                                                                   Press Release Protocol
                                                                                             th
                                                                                  Council – 8 August 2007




                      In addition, care should be taken when processing personal data. The
                      Data Protection Act 1998 prevents the use of personal information other than
                      for the purposes for which it was supplied. Members should bear this in mind
                      when using any personal data which may be supplied to them by their
                      constituents. Members are also reminded that they should adhere to the
                      Council’s ICT Security Policy and the Guidance on Acceptable Use of the
                      Internet and E-mail.

                 •	 In general, the Communications             Manager     will   be   responsible    for
                    interpretation of the Protocol.


                                                       ++++


           In terms of publishing on the Council website the following Protocol applies.

           5          Website Acceptable Use Policy for Councillor Sections

           This Acceptable Use Policy defines the purposes for which Members of the Borough
           Council may not use the site. In summary these are:

                 •	   The introduction of content that may result in actions for libel, defamation or
                      other claims for damages.

                 •	   Processing personal data other than for the purpose stated at the time of
                      capture.

                 •	   The promotion of any political party or campaigning.

                 •	   The promotion of personal financial interests or commercial ventures.

                 •	   Personal campaigns.

                 •	   Using the site in an abusive or hateful manner.




           Jo Vause 17/07/07
           Communications Manager




           v.2




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             Report Title: Press Release Protocol
                    th
             Date: 8 August 2007 Version No: 2
                                                                                           13

                     REPORT OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE TO COUNCIL


             DATE OF MEETING:                8TH AUGUST 2007

             SUBJECT:                        PRESS RELEASE PROTOCOL

             PORTFOLIO HOLDER:               COUNCILLOR MARGARET SIMON
                                             CUSTOMERS

             EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:             BOROUGH SOLICITOR

             SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: ORGANISATION

             CONTACTS:
             Portfolio Holder
             Cllr Margaret Simon
             Tel:    01270 663110
             Fax : 01270 651582
             E-mail: cllr.margaret.simon@crewe-nantwich.gov.uk
             Officers
             Name: Diane Moulson
             Tel:     01270 537026
             Fax:     01270 537605
             E-mail: diane.moulson@crewe-nantwich.gov.uk
             Key issues:

             A Press Release Protocol has been drawn up by the Council’s
             Communications Manager to clarify the role of both officers and members in
             the publication of press releases.

             The draft protocol was considered by the Standards Committee at its meeting
             on 17 July 2007. Some minor changes were suggested which have been
             incorporated into the document.

             Council is now invited to formally adopt the protocol.

             Recommendation

             Council is invited to RESOLVE that :

             The Press Release Protocol submitted be adopted.




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             Report Title: Press Release Protocol
                    th
             Date: 8 August 2007 Version No: 2


                                REPORT OF THE BOROUGH SOLICITOR


             1. 	    INTRODUCTION

             1.1 	   The writing and publication of press releases on behalf of Crewe and
                     Nantwich Borough Council lies with the Communications Department
                     and the process applied complies with the Code of Recommended
                     Practice on Local Authority Publicity.

             1.2 	   Political press releases are also published by elected Members of the
                     Council and there has been some confusion amongst Councillors as to
                     the role of the Communications Department in this area.

             1.3 	   To provide clarity and to ensure that the Borough Council continues to
                     communicate in a professional and objective manner, a formal Press
                     Release Protocol has been drawn up.

             2. 	    PRESS RELEASE PROTOCOL

             2.1 	   The draft Press Release Protocol (attached) has been endorsed by the
                     Council’s Management Team and was considered by the Standards
                     Committee at its meeting on 17 July 2007.

             2.3 	   Subject to further clarification on the types of press releases issued by
                     the Council, the Committee approved the Protocol and agreed that the
                     Press Release Protocol be submitted to Council with a
                     recommendation for its formal adoption.

             3. 	    BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

                     Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity




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Description: Item 13 - Press Release Protocol