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Use of media

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Is it ever acceptable for a Parish Council to "use" the media to attempt to resolve problems with County Council not meeting their statutory obligations to the Parish? In other words apply pressure by shaming and naming and highlighting shortfalls in services.
asked by (5.5k points)

3 Answers

0 votes
One of the many complaints lodged against me is that I wrote a letter to the local paper explaining that the Clerk refused to put my motions on the Agenda and the Chair said there was nothing she could do about it

As far as I’m concerned if what you are publicising is true and the failure to act is impacting on your Parish there isn’t a problem
Where does your  County Councillor stand on this issue as based on my experience they are sensitive to bad publicity
answered by (2.7k points)
0 votes

Personally Yes I do think there are times where it is acceptable for a Parish/Town Council as a corporate body to collectively come to decision to issue a statement challenging decisions taken by other local authorities.  It would seem to me to be reasonable and perfectly legitimate for that press release to be forwarded to the media.  I can certainly think of instances locally where it has been done (and plenty where it should have been done).  I would look to exhaust all other options mind prior to embarking on route as it can look quite unsightly.  For me i apply the following tests:

  1. Is the statement factually accurate? (or at very least you reasonably believe them to be true)
  2. Has the Parish/Town council exhausted all other alternatives?
  3. Has the Parish/Town council discussed the issue with the elected representative from said other authority?
  4. I pledged to avoid getting involved with "Blue" vs "Red" (or similar) party political spats as general rule of thumb i personally keep out of them.  Id never do anything to drag body into them as a result.   
  • As a side issue I would personally never get involved with controversial statements as a body with an election approaching at said other authority (even if just outside of Purdah always felt it creates unnecessary tension),. 
answered by (1.9k points)
0 votes
This should be your absolute last resort. Have you explored every other option? Does your county councillor attend your meetings? Do you have a strong working relationship with officers at all levels? Have you raised your concerns with every rung of the ladder? Have they explained their reasons?

The role of the media is to sell a story. They'll take your facts and mould them into the best story they can, regardless of whether it continues to resemble the story you submitted. For every person who supports your decision to go public, somebody else will question whether or not this is the correct course of action.

Do you have county council elections this year? Have you thought of arranging your annual assembly during the first three weeks of March, before purdah, as a public Q&A for the candidates?
answered by (24k points)

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