Website Terms of Reference
Aims of the Parish Council Website
- To provide information useful to residents of the Parish, focused on services and events within the Parish.
- Provide information in a timely, accurate, fair and objective manner.
- To assist visibility of Parish Council matters to residents of the Parish, including agendas, minutes, directory of council members, and any other relevant Parish Council documents.
- To support engagement of residents of the Parish with the Parish Council – including providing contact details for members of the Parish to raise concerns or questions with the Parish Council, and providing a mechanism to facilitate surveys and/or consultations where appropriate.
- To encourage usage of the website as a communication method within the Parish and to promote the use of the website.
The website exists on behalf of the Parish Council for the benefit of the members of the Parish. The Parish Council has ultimately decision making authority over the content, and indeed continued existence of the website.
However, it would not be practical for all decisions regarding individual notices and items of content to be approved by the Parish Councillors – and as such the following set of policies have been established to allow the day to day editorial activities of the website to be delegated, whilst providing a clear framework of what is acceptable and unacceptable. These policies may be reviewed by the Parish Council from time to time.
Website content policy
- The website will focus upon providing factual content.
- The website will generally not publish opinions, except where these are the correctly approved opinions of the Parish Council, or where these opinions form a part of Parish Council business (for example as part of sharing views upon a consultation).
- All content on the website shall be published by one or more person authorised to publish content on behalf of the Parish Council – there will be no open access ability for the public to directly publish content on the website.
- The process for the public to request that information is published on the website and the policy for including content will be published on the website.
- In the interests of efficient and timely publication of information, the website editors shall have delegated authority to publish content that fits one or more of the following criteria:
- Parish Council documents which are approved for publication, including agendas, approved minutes, register of councillors’ interests, etc.
- Any notice which is approved for publication on the Parish Council noticeboard or by the Parish Council in the Parish Magazine (for example a public summary of key actions and notices arising from council meetings prior to the approval of the minutes)
- Any notice sent to the Parish Council which is intended for public circulation and where publication is in the public interest (for example Police notices, road closures or formal consultations).
- Details of any public event held within the Parish which is substantially operated on a not-for-profit or charitable basis (It is recognised that events that may be primarily of a not-for-profit or charity nature may contain peripheral commercial activities – for example catering facilities at a charity event may be provided on a commercial basis – this should not prevent the inclusion of such events where this does not form a material part of the event.)
- Details of any clubs, societies or public services based within (or which primarily target residents of) the Parish.
- Content which is likely to encourage usage of the website without materially impeding the website’s primary purpose, nor causing any material harm – for example local news and weather feeds, or photographs of recent village events (with permission of the copyright holder).
- The website will not carry “paid for” advertising nor publish notices which are primarily of a commercial nature without approval of the Parish Council.
- Other content and/or functionality can be implemented as instructed by and approved by the Parish Council.
Information about businesses
The website is not primarily a business directory, but recognises that the local nature of some businesses may warrant their inclusion on the website.
The website will include public service business (e.g. Post Office) and any business based within the Parish or which primarily provides its services within the Parish upon request from that business.
Website Links policy
- The website may contain links to other third party websites where these fit one or more of the following criteria:
- Links to websites that provide further information on an event, club, society, public service or other permitted body within the website content policy.
- Links to mainstream news and weather sites covering the local area.
- Links to other local council, government or government agency websites.
- Links approved by the Parish Council for inclusion.
In the event of an objection that content does not comply with these policies, the website editors will seek guidance as soon as reasonably practical from no fewer than two councillors as to whether either:
- The content concerned should remain in place and be reviewed at the next available Parish Council meeting;
- The content concerned should be removed pending review at the next available Parish Council meeting.