The code under which local government press officers currently work
was drawn up over a decade ago, when they operated in a very different
landscape from today.
For instance, the code prohibits councils from using their publicity
budget to comment on issues not directly relevant to their own
And councils can be taken to court for breaking the rules. However, with
the changes the Government is planning to introduce within the next two
years, town halls will be encouraged to act as champions for their
residents in all areas, whether it be on council, police or health
The select committee scrutinising the Local Government Bill which will
bring in these changes has suggested to the Government that it review
the code so that PR departments can cope with them. If town halls are to
have the freedom they need to sell new Labour’s agenda for change an
update of the code is vital.