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These are the rules Preston councillors must stick to on social media

Posted on - 17th December, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council
Inside the Preston City Council chamber at the Town Hall Pic: GuildMerchant
Inside the Preston City Council chamber at the Town Hall Pic: GuildMerchant

New social media rules have been agreed for councillors in Preston.

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Preston City Council’s meeting of full council on Thursday (14 December) heard the new guidelines.

It replaces the city council’s previous social media policy and the new social media protocol could be used by the standards committee if complaints were to be made about a councillors comments made online.

Here’s what the new rules say:

The Code of Conduct for Members will apply to your online activity in just the same way as they do to any other written or verbal communication. The key to whether the Code applies is whether you are (or even appear to be) acting in your capacity as a Member of Preston City Council rather than as a private individual. When using social media you should take particular care not to publish anything which might bring this role into disrepute.

The main areas of behaviour that should be adhered to when using social media that relate most closely to the Code of Conduct are:

Treating others with respect – do not use social media to make personal attacks or indulge in rude, disrespectful or offensive comments.

Complying with equality laws – take care that you do not publish anything which might be considered to be sexist, racist, ageist, homophobic or anti faith.

Avoiding bullying or intimidation of anyone – do not say anything that might be construed as bullying or intimidation whether the comments relate to a Council employee, a fellow Member or anyone else.

Avoiding the disclosure of confidential information – refrain from publishing anything you have received in confidence.

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Already an issue?

Preston’s Conservative group highlighted a tweet sent by a Labour councillor the evening before the council meeting.

Former Mayor of Preston and former cabinet member councillor John Swindells had expressed his view on the new social media policy.

Lea councillor Christina Abram said: “It was a difficult day in Council On Thursday after hearing the awful news concerning the Labour Leaders health.

“Members had the new Social Media Policy to debate and unanimously voted for this to be implemented. However we were saddened by the horrible Tweet made the previous evening by a former Mayor of Preston.

“This is being discussed within the Council but I sincerely hope that we can move forward and treat each other with respect for the professional positions we hold. The people we represent do not want to see or hear such nastiness from their councillors.”

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Anyone who feels a councillor isn’t sticking to the code of conduct can complain via the city council website.

The full social media protocol can be read on the city council website.

What do you think about councillors on social media? Do you like seeing councillors commenting and sharing their views? Let us know in the comments below

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