Heather Jameson 01 April 2011

Parliament passes publicity code for councils

A new publicity code for local authorities has been passed by Parliament,following communities secretary Eric Pickles' pledge to crackdown on ' town hall Pravdas'.

Under the new rules, councils will not be able to publish newspapers more than four times a year – although parishes will be allowed to publish monthly newspapers.

Council advertising must be balanced and factually accurate, and they will not be allowed to hire lobbyists or stands at party conferences.

Mr Pickles said:'We said we would bring an end to improper council publicity and now a new code of practice is in force. These new rules make it crystal clear that taxpers' money should be for protecting front line services,not printing Pravda or paying professional lobbyists to put the squeeze on Whitehall.

' Publicity straying into propaganda clearly crosses the line of appropriate public funding.'

The code sets out seven principles for publicity, which the Department of Communities and Local Government claims will make sure council publicity is:

  • lawful
  • objective
  • appropriate
  • even handed
  • cost effective
  • has regard for equality and diversity
  • has regard for periods of heightened sensitivity

Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity

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