Part 2: Scope – What are “Communications”?

Good Practice for Managing Public Communications by Local Authorities.

Our guidance applies to any communication by a Council, or a Member or employee or office holder of a Council, or a Member of a Community Board, where:

  • the Council meets the cost (wholly or in part); or
  • the person making the communication does so in an official capacity on behalf of the Council or a Community Board.

We make no distinction between:

  • mandatory and discretionary communications;
  • communications in the Council’s own publications and the news media generally;
  • Council-funded advertisements and other forms of publicity; or
  • electronic (including web site or e-mail) and hard copy publication.

The underlying principles are the same in each case.

Common examples of communications by Councils include:

  • statutory documents – such as draft, final, and summary versions of the Long Term Council Community Plan or an Annual Report under the LGA;
  • information on a web site, or in a poster or pamphlet, about Council services available to the public, or the rights, entitlements, and responsibilities of people affected by a Council activity;
  • newspapers and newsletters reporting Council news and activities;
  • material explaining a particular proposal, decision, policy, or bylaw of the Council;
  • marketing material promoting the Council, its communities, or a regional brand;
  • Council-funded advertising about a particular event, proposal, or Council policy;
  • educational material about issues affecting the community; and
  • media releases initiating or responding to public comment about matters affecting the Council or its communities.

In a different category are communications by Members using Council resources or facilities. We address this type of communication in paragraphs 4.33-4.40 on pages 19-20.

The guide does not apply to:

  • normal day-to-day correspondence between Members and their constituents on appropriate matters, except during a pre-election period when the content of the correspondence should not be inconsistent with Principle 12 on page 22; and
  • communications by Members using their own resources.
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