CIPR takes on government over weekly council magazine ban

The CIPR has taken on the Government by speaking out in support of councils that flout the ban on publishing weekly magazines.

Peter Holt: defends council-run papers
Peter Holt: defends council-run papers

It was revealed earlier this month that Greenwich Borough Council has been reported to the district auditor for continuing to publish its weekly Greenwich Time newspaper.

Tower Hamlets’ Conservative opposition leader Peter Golds also reported his council’s East End Life publication in July.

Golds told PRWeek that he had received confirmation that the newspaper was under investigation.

Golds said he was ‘surprised’ that East End Life continued as ‘a propaganda sheet masquerading as a paper with TV listings, restaurant reviews and photograph after photograph of Mayor Rahman’.

But vice-chair of the CIPR local public services group Peter Holt said councils communicating with local residents was ‘an unequivocally good thing’.

‘So is localism, where more decisions about what is right for a local area are taken by locally elected people instead of in Whitehall,’ added Holt, who is also Bristol City Council service director of comms and marketing.

‘It’s disappointing to see people expending energy on party political point-scoring on this issue, when there are so many more important challenges facing local councils.’

Greenwich Tory councillor Spencer Drury wrote to district auditor Sue Exton because the Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authority Publicity advises against municipal newspapers being published more than four times a year.

Exton confirmed she had received a letter from Drury regarding Greenwich Time and was considering whether any action was appropriate.

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