Reviewed & Adopted 15/08/2019 Gainsborough Town Council
Social Media Policy
What is Social Media? ‘Social media’ is the term commonly given to websites and online tools which allow users to interact with each other in some way = by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. This interaction may be through computers, mobile phones and new generation technology such as i-Pads. Examples of social media websites include: Social networking – (eg. www.facebook.com) Video sharing – (eg. www.youtube.com) Blogs (eg. london2012.com/blog) Micro-blogging (eg. www.twitter.com) Message boards (eg. www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbsn/home) Wikis (eg. www.wikipedia.org) Social bookmarking (eg. www.delicious.com)
Council Use of Social Media a) Principles • To publish information about the work of Gainsborough Town Council to a wider audience. • To avoid entering into online debates or arguments about the Council’s work. Social Media must NOT be used in the recruitment process for employees or new councillors – other than for the sole purpose of placing vacancy advertisements – as this could lead to potential discrimination and privacy actions, as well as breach of data protection issues. b) Approved Council Social Media • Town Council website • Facebook pages – Main Town Council page and RAGE • Twitter account – Main Town Council and RAGE c) Users of Council Social Media • The Clerk shall be the nominated Social Media Officer with the authority to issue official postings on Social Media sites on behalf of the Council. No other member of staff (other than the Deputy Clerk deputising for the Clerk and the Administration Support Officer when directed to do so by the Clerk or Deputy Clerk has the authority to issue public statements on social media on behalf of the Council. • All public comments made to the Social Media sites must be vetted by the Clerk / Deputy Clerk before being published on the Social Media sites. If in the opinion of the Clerk a comment is unsuitable for publication the comment will be rejected and will not be published on the Social Media sites. The Clerk shall have the sole discretion over assessing the suitability of public comments.
Third party Social Media and Individual Councillor Usage Councillors need to think about whether they are acting in a private capacity, or whether any impression might be conveyed that they are acting for and on behalf of Gainsborough Town Council. The Council has adopted a Code of Conduct which is binding on all members. If you use Social Media in your official capacity as a councillor, you should always be mindful of the Code, and of the seven Nolan principles applicable to holding public office – selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. Do: • Set appropriate privacy settings for any blog or networking site • Watch out for defamatory or obscene posts from others on any blog or page and remove them as soon as possible to avoid any perception that you condone such vies • Be aware that the higher your profile as a councillor, the more likely it is that you may be seen as acting in an official capacity when you blog or network • Ensure any Council facilities are used appropriate – if using a Council-provided blog site or social networking area, any posts that you make are extremely likely to be viewed as being made in your official capacity • Avoid publishing any information that you could only have accessed in your position as a councillor • Be careful if making ‘political’ points, and avoid being specific or personal about individuals. Don’t: • Blog in haste • Post comments that you would not be prepared to make in writing or in face-to-face contact • Use Council facilities for personal or political purposes