As an individual any councillor is free to participate on social media and communicate with other media.
However this must be done as an individual and not as a representative of the Town Council.
Social media – individual use
Any comments made on social media are instant and not retractable. Also please remember that often these discussions can become heated and emotional.
If making comments on social media please ensure that you do not identify yourself as being a member of the Town Council. It should also be borne in mind that in all probability on local sites you will be recognised as a councillor.
You must not give any indication that your views represent the views of the Town Council.
Social media – council use
There will be instances where the Town Council wish to make a point on social media.
In these instances the content will be agreed in advance by the Town Council and only one nominated councillor (this will normally be the Media Officer) will be responsible for making comments. If the discussion moves beyond the agreed parameters then the Town Council (or smaller group if agreed by full council) will decide what further input is necessary and appropriate.
Individual councillors must not participate in these on-line discussions.
Other media – individual use
Other media relates to anything not on-line (e.g. newspapers, radio, television) and the same comments apply as for social media.
Care will need to be taken if you are having a discussion with a member of the press that you do not get coerced into giving what could be interpreted as the view of the Town Council.
Other media – council use
If the Town Council decides that it wishes to use other media to communicate then this will be done by a nominated councillor (this will normally be the Media Officer).
If any other councillor is asked to comment on the particular issue then they must refer the media to the nominated councillor.
Other media – requests for comments
Very often councillors will be asked by the media for comments on a particular issue.
If this relates to a topic covered in the previous section then the instructions in that section must be followed and the matter referred to the nominated councillor.
If it relates to an item that has been discussed in an open Town Council meeting then a comment can be made in line with the Town Council decision at that meeting. If you are unsure then make it clear that you do not wish to comment but suggest that the media contact the Mayor or the Media Officer.
If the query relates to something not discussed at a Town Council meeting then you may only give a personal response and you must make it clear that your response is as an individual and does not represent the views of the Town Council.
Closed council sessions
Any items discussed in a closed Town Council session must never be discussed with anyone outside the Town Council.
The above policy will apply to all employees when at work and equally any comments made outside of work must bear no link to the Town Council.