Agenda item

Social Media Policy (Agenda item 10)

Report of the Executive Member for the Communications and Corporate Services Portfolio (Stephen Askew).


The report provided information that would enable Members to discuss and decide whether to approve the Council’s new Social Media Policy.


The Marketing & Communications Officer pointed out that the same report would be presented to the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting on 20 May 2010.  He wanted this Policy to have longevity and to have a broad-brush approach.


A presentation was provided.


The Policy at Appendix A of the report set out in detail how the Council would present itself in the social media sphere and how staff should act when using it.


It was noted that the Social Media Policy applied only to Officers of the Council.  Elected Members could use it as guidance but were ultimately bound by the Code of Practice/Conduct and were reminded of the relevant disciplinary rules and procedures.  Three training programmes on social media had been arranged for all Councillors to attend.


The Cabinet was informed that Spider Solutions had since been appointed as the Council’s website developer.


The Vice-Chairman agreed with the aforementioned comments made by the Marketing & Communications Officer, the Council needed a policy that could not only be controlled but be flexible enough to cope with the rapidly changing world of social media.  He had, however, grave concerns about Members and whether they would be provided with the right guidance and protection. 


In response to a question about whether there would be any costs attached to the monitoring side of the website, Members were informed that the Council was about to sign up to a social media monitoring tool. 


The Executive Member for the Communities and Benefits Portfolio felt that social media would be of more benefit to the public than to the Council and it was agreed that the recommendation be changed to reflect this.


It was further agreed that a progress report be presented to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission in six to nine months time.


Option 1- recommended


The Council agrees to the adoption of the Social Media Usage Policy and the guidelines for staff.


The Council continues with the development of its Social Media Strategy as set out in the Digital and Social Media Development report.


Option 2


The Council chooses not to adopt the Social Media Usage Policy and guidelines for staff.


The Council continues with the development of is Social Media Strategy as set out in the Digital and Social Media Development report accepting the increased risks that this involves.




Without this Policy in place it was arguable whether the Council should develop a social media presence as the risks this would present would be greatly increased.


Not only would staff not have a clear idea of what their permitted rights and responsibilities were but there was also the risk of the Social Media Strategy failing because of lack of consistency in message and presence and the loss of strong identity that inevitably accompanied this.


The Council would also be unable to adequately control what platforms it was on and what messages were put out in emergencies or when issues arose such as purdah.



RESOLVED that the Council’s new Social Media Policy which sets out guidelines for how both the Council and its staff will use social media for the benefit of Breckland be approved.

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