Opinion: From our Readers - The code for council comms is outdated

Your article 'Councils attack purdah code' (26 March) highlights some of the weaknesses in the existing code of recommended practice for council communications.

I share Paul Masterman and Alex Aiken's analysis of the existing guidance - it is out of date, confusing and discourages responsibility and accountability.

We should replace the existing code with a much simpler version that encourages officers to focus on communicating the council's policies as set down by the democratically elected politicians.

This should encourage council communicators to take greater responsibility for what they do, and lead to better briefings to politicians and senior officers.

The bottom line is elected councillors have the electoral mandate to govern, and councils should support the delivery of their policies in the most efficient and effective way. This is what residents expect and communications should explain to the public what their council is doing to meet its needs.

This doesn't mean becoming party political. It means focusing on policies that have the elected representatives' approval. This approach may encourage greater public involvement in local democracy. And it means we focus on what matters most to residents, which helps strengthen the council's reputation as an organisation that listens and delivers.

John Shewell, head of corporate comms, Brighton & Hove Council.

Email letters (200 words maximum) to prweekletters@haymarket.com.

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