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Communications and media guidance

Overview


Aberdeen City Council has a dedicated Communications and Promotions service, which is responsible for leading on communication activity and engaging with the council's internal, local, regional, national and international stakeholders and audiences.

The service uses the in-house team's knowledge and skills in a wide range of disciplines to provide an integrated service which includes media relations, marketing and design, digital engagement and events strategy, planning and management. The team is responsible for meeting the requirements of the organisation and works closely with officers from services across the council as well as committee conveners, vice-conveners and administration leaders. The Aberdeen City Council Communications Policy, a clear protocol agreed by full council, is followed.

In line with this protocol, the service does not offer support to individual elected members (for example in ward related media activity or political communications).

During the pre-election period of Purdah, only operational activity can be conducted by the Communications and Promotions Service. For the 2017 local elections, Purdah will begin in March (exact date to be confirmed) and run through until the elections have been concluded. During this period media releases will not include a quote from any elected members.

Councillors and the media


Local government in Aberdeen benefits from coverage by print, broadcast and digital media. Elected members have a central role. Each individual councillor and each party will have their own approach to communications activity and the way in which they work with the media. This personal media activity is the responsibility of the individual member or prospective councillor, rather than Aberdeen City Council as an organisation.

Media outlets are bound by industry standards, for example in the case of newspapers, magazines and electronic news publishers the Society of Editors Code of Practice, based on the principle of protecting both the rights of the in individual and public interest.

The majority of council business is conducted in public and therefore subject to unrestricted media coverage, for example the content of committee reports and any contributions made by elected members or officers during the course of committee meetings or in other public forums can be reported. Exceptions include items which are heard in private for pre-determined reasons.

The digital world

Aberdeen City Council as an organisation uses a number of digital platforms to engage with the individuals and businesses we serve. This includes through our website and social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. With more than 28,000 followers of the official Aberdeen City Council Twitter account, there are powerful opportunities to communicate directly with those we serve. See a list of all our social media channels.

Prospective councillors and elected members are also increasingly embracing social media and other digital tools as part of their own communications mix. As with other open forums such as council meetings, it is important to remember that these are public platforms.

The digital world is rapidly evolving and comprehensive guidance on social media for elected members is available.

 

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