The use of digital and social media and electronic communication enables the Community Council to interact in a way that improves the communications both within the Council and between the Council and the public, businesses and agencies it works with and services.
The Blaengwrach Community Council has a website and uses email to communicate. It also has a Facebook page which is used on an “information only basis”. The Council will always try and use the most effective channel for its communications. Over time the Council may add to the channels of communication that it uses as it seeks to improve and expand the services it delivers. When these changes occur this Policy will be updated to reflect the new arrangements.
The Council webpage and Facebook page intends to provide information and updates regarding activities and opportunities within our Community and promote the Community positively.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE COUNCIL WILL MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
a) Be civil, tasteful and relevant;
b) Not contain content that is knowingly unlawful, libellous, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually orientated or racially offensive;
c) Not contain content knowingly copied from elsewhere, for which the Council do not own the copyright;
d) Not contain any personal information;
e) If it is official Council business it will be moderated by either the Chair/Vice Chair and/or the Clerk to the Council;
f) The Council social media will not be used for dissemination of any political advertising etc.
In order to ensure that any discussions on any Council page are productive, respectful and consistent with the Council`s aims and objectives, we ask you to follow the guidelines below:
1) Be considerate and respectful to others. Vulgarity, threats or abuse of language will not be tolerated;
2) Differing opinions and discussions of diverse ideas are encouraged, but personal attacks on anyone, including Councillors and Council staff, will not be permitted;
3) Share freely and be generous with official Council posts, but be aware of copyright laws; be accurate and give credit where credit is due;
4) Stay “on topic”;
5) Refrain from using the Council`s Web page and Facebook page for commercial purposes or to advertise, market or sell products.
The sites are not monitored 24/7 and we will not always be able to reply individually to all messages or comments received. However, we will endeavour to ensure that any emerging themes or helpful suggestions are passed to the relevant people or authorities. Please do not include personal/private information in your social media posts to us.
All communications to the Council for official purposes should be made via email (or by post) to the Clerk to the Council and/or to the Councillors.
We retain the right to remove comments or content that includes:
a) Obscene or racist comments;
b) Personal attacks, insults, or threatening language;
c) Potentially libellous statements;
d) Plagiarised material, any material in violation of any laws, including copyright;
e) Private, personal information published without consent;
f) Information or links unrelated to the content of the forum;
g) Commercial promotions or spam;
h) Alleges a breach of a Council Policy or the Law.
The Council`s response to any communication received not meeting the above criteria will be to either ignore, inform the sender of our policy or send a brief response as appropriate. This will be at the Councils discretion based on the message received, and given our limited resources available. The Council may post a statement that “A post breaching the Council`s Social media Policy has been removed”. If the post alleges a breach of a Council policy or the law the person who posted it will be asked to submit a formal complaint to the Council or report the matter directly to the Police as soon as possible to allow due process.
THE BLAENGWRACH COMMUNITY COUNCIL FACEBOOK PAGE:
This page is used for “information only”. If anyone wishes to “share” any information of activities, events etc. within the community please email the Clerk to the Council on blaengwrach.clerk@gmail. com , with details, including times and dates, at least fourteen (14) days before the scheduled activity/event, and every effort will be made to “load” the activity/event on to the page. The Council may, at its discretion, allow approved local groups to maintain a presence on the page for the purpose of presenting information of the group`s activities etc. The Council reserves the right to not publish or remove any or all of a local group`s information from the page if it feels that the content does not meet the Council`s “rules and expectations” for the page. Any “posts” made on the page will be clearly marked “the content of this post is not the direct responsibility of the Community Council”.
THE BLAENGWRACH COMMUNITY COUNCIL WEBSITE:
Where necessary, we may direct those contacting us to our website to see the required information, or we may forward their question to one of our Councillors for consideration and/or response. We may not respond to every comment we receive particularly if we are experiencing a heavy workload.
The Council may, at its discretion, allow approved local group to maintain a presence on the site for the purpose of presenting information of the group`s activities etc. For this to be possible, the Secretary of the Group should email the Clerk to the Council on email@example.com with details, including times and dates, at least fourteen (14) days before the scheduled activity/event is due to take place, and every effort will be made to “load” the activity/event on the site. The Council reserves the right to not publish or remove any or all of a local group`s information from the site if it feels that the content does not meet the Council`s “rules and expectations” for the site. Any “posts” made on the site will be clearly marked ” the content of this post is not the direct responsibility of the Community Council”.
THE COMMUNITY COUNCIL`S EMAILS:
The Clerk of the Council has their own email address – firstname.lastname@example.org. The email is monitored during the Clerk`s working hours and we aim to reply to all questions etc. as soon as we can. An “Out of Office” message will be used when appropriate.
The Clerk is responsible for dealing with emails received and passing on any relevant mail to Community Councillors, the Ward County Councillor, and/or external agencies etc. for information and/or action. All communications on behalf of the Blaengwrach Community Council will usually come from the Clerk, and/or otherwise will always be copied to the Clerk. All new emails requiring data to be passed on, will be forwarded to the relevant agency etc. as soon as any data consent to do so has been received.
Individual Community Councillors are at liberty to communicate directly with residents etc. in relation to their own personal views. However, it must be noted that a Councillor`s personal views does not represent the views of the full Council. If appropriate, the Community Councillor should “copy” the Clerk into these emails but everyone should note that if the Clerk is copied into such an email, it becomes “official” and will be subject to The Freedom of Information Act 2000.
These procedures will ensure that a complete and proper record of all correspondence is kept.
Do not forward personal information on to other people or groups outside the Community Council, this includes names, addresses, email addresses, IP addresses and cookie identifiers.
SMS (TEXTING) and WhatsApp:
Community Councillors and the Clerk may use these methods as a convenient way to communicate at times. All are reminded that this policy also applies to such messages.
VIDEO CONFERENCING e.g. Skype, Zoom, Star Leaf, Microsoft Teams etc:
If this medium is used to communicate in any way, it should be noted that this policy applies to the use of video conferencing.
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION and ACCESS to INFORMATION WITHIN the COUNCIL:
The Council is continually looking at ways to improve its working and the use of social media and electronic communications is a major factor in delivering improvement.
COUNCILLORS ARE EXPECTED TO ABIDE BY THE CODE OF CONDUCT and THE DATA PROTECTION ACT in ALL THEIR WORK ON BEHALF OF THE COMMUNITY COUNCIL:
As more and more information becomes available at the press of a button, it is vital that all information is treated sensitively and securely. Community Councillors are expected to maintain an awareness of the confidentiality of information that they have access to and not to share confidential information with anyone. Failure to properly observe confidentiality may be seen as a breach of the Council`s Code of Conduct and will be dealt with through its prescribed procedures (at the extreme it may also involve a criminal investigation). Community Councillors should be careful only to cc essential recipients on emails i.e. avoid the use of “Reply to All” option if this is possible, but of course copying in all those who need to know and ensuring that any email trails that are not needed, have been removed.
THIS POLICY WAS ADOPTED BY THE BLAENGWRACH COMMUNITY COUNCIL ON 13th SEPTEMBER 2018.