Today sees our new councillors being signed into office but already a political row has begun ask councillors were asked to sign a far reaching document, which could basically gag and force councillor to back track on promises made during the run up to the election.
The document has since been withdrawn, for consultation, but not yet scrapped.
What this document does is, in my opinion is undermine a councillors powers to speak openly with constituents and also speak to the press where appropriate.
One of the questions I posed in the recent MyTunstall Q/A sessions to all candidates was would you be providing regular updates that can be posted to your electorate.
I personally see councillors talking via a blog as a positive, as a way of actively engaging the electorate and not leaving them behind at the polls once the election dust has settled. So did a number of the candidates.
Media Protocol for Councillors
As a councillor I will operate within the Code of Conduct and the law as it relates to local government communication. This also applies to comments I may make via any "new media" outlet such as a website, blog, Tweet, Facebook etc.
I will not provide the media with information that has been obtained confidentially in my role as a councillor.
I will not provide inaccurate information to the media. When making comments about the council, I will check the accuracy of information with the relevant senior officer first.
As a councillor I will always state in what capacity I am speaking to the media and what my role is in relation to the issue in question.
I will not use the media to unfairly criticise the council, its services or its officers. I will not make personal attacks on officers nor undermine respect for them.
I will raise any concerns I have about the conduct of employees or other councillors with the relevant Corporate Director and not through the media.
As a councillor I will alert the Communications Team to any media enquiries of such significance or controversy that they should be brought to the attention of the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.
If I am unclear on any of these issues I shall ask for advice from the Communications Team.
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Cheers for the doc Sam