1. Why has the council introduced this policy
This policy supports our Communications Plan and together these policies aim to improve the Council’s communication with customers and residents (including harder to reach groups) through the effective use of social media.
The policy aims to ensure that the public are clear at all times about whether the employee, councillor or third party contractor is communicating on behalf of the Council or as an individual.
Councils can use social media in many ways, including:
- Providing information about services
- Supporting local democracy
- Gathering customer insight and managing customer relationships
- Promoting cultural and leisure events
- Supporting local communities and developing a neighbourly approach.
Councillors who wish to help build a sense of belonging in a neighbourhood, increase resident satisfaction levels and reduce social problems can do much with social media as it is a way of connecting people, encouraging conversation and building trust.
Social media includes (but is not limited to) social networking sites (such as Facebook and LinkedIn); video and photo sharing websites (such as Flickr, YouTube and Instagram); blogs and microblogs (such as Twitter); ‘wiki’ sites that can be edited by the public (such as Wikipedia) and forums or discussion boards.
This policy aims to make sure that employees, councillors and third party contractors can actively take part in social networks so that local government keeps pace with the ways in which people like to engage.
This policy and associated guides will help ensure that employees, councillors and third parties understand and comply with all relevant legislation and Council policies which are relevant to the use of social media - whether the use is for official council business or personal.
Contractors are required to comply with this policy in the same way as employees and Members of the Council and this requirement will form part of contractual agreements.