Councils are supposed to provide services for the taxpayers who pay for them; it should go without saying that this does not include self promotion.
‘If the Department for Communities and Local Government was truly committed to localism it would not be introducing draconian rules dictating to councils how often they are allow to share information with residents.’
Now local councils have realised that communicating with the public - a duty of theirs - is not well served by relying on local papers that two-thirds or more of local residents don't read. These Councils produce their own newspapers - Bradford does this with the (multi-award winning) Community Pride.
Local authorities should not publish or incur expenditure in commissioning in hard copy or on any website, newsletters, newssheets or similar communications which seek to emulate commercial newspapers in style or content. Where local authorities do commission or publish newsletters, newssheets or similar communications, they should not issue them more frequently than quarterly, apart from parish councils which should not issue them more frequently than monthly. Such communications should not include material other than information for the public about the business, services and amenities of the council or other local service providers.
The revised Publicity Code contains specific guidance on the frequency, content and appearance of local authority newsletters, newssheets or similar publications. The Department considers that the Publicity Code, rather than competition legislation, is the right vehicle for imposing tougher rules to stop unfair competition by local authority newspapers because the issues involved go beyond the purely economic considerations of, for instance, council newspapers diverting revenue from paid advertising away from local newspapers.