Communications and Marketing Policy

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New Version No.

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GA New policy. Adopted at Full Council 15.6.20 Agenda item 10.7



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1. Introduction

1.1 This Strategy is designed to guide the Town Council’s Communications and Marketing activities over the coming months and years. Communications activity is a key driver in public perception of overall Council performance. Keeping residents informed, listening to their concerns and involving them when making decisions has a significant impact on public satisfaction with the Council and its services.

1.2 Marketing techniques are an integral part of the communications strategy and to be meaningful it must reflect the corporate aims and priorities of the Council. It will also reflect the principles set out in the Business Plan as well as reflecting current policies including the Equality Policy, Information and Data Protection Policy, Data Privacy Policy and Customer Care Policy.

1.3 The Council considers that the community of Macclesfield comprises

  1. All residents of the parish
  2. All users of Town Council services
  3. All those who work, or own business within Macclesfield
  4. All young people who live/go to school in Macclesfield
  5. All voluntary organisations, clubs and societies as well as groups or organisations representing sections of the community.

1.4 The Council recognises that other bodies are crucial to the quality of life in Macclesfield; it will maintain strong working relationships with Cheshire East Council, the Police and other local Parish and Town Councils.

1.5 The Council defines communication as the process of informing the community about decisions that have been made or the passing on of information.

1.6 The Council defines engagement as involving the community to help form opinion and review decisions.

1.7 The Council is always open to receiving both positive and negative feedback and has a commitment to encouraging the community to engage with the Council.

1.8 All communications will avoid jargon and misleading public information.

2. Communication

2.1 The Town Council website is the primary source of information on the Council for the community and will be kept up-to-date with content routinely monitored. The Council aims to actively publish a wide range of information on the council and its activities.

2.2 The Council will make best possible use of social media in line with the Council’s Internet, email and social media policy.

2.3 The Council will prepare regular press releases to be sent to local news providers and continue to produce a quarterly newsletter, the MaccUpdate.

2.4 The Council will utilise noticeboards at the council offices, town centre and wards.

3. Engagement

3.1 The Council shall continue to set aside time at every Council and Committee meeting (excluding Personnel) for members of the public to address the Council.

3.2 The Council shall continue to develop the Annual Parish Meeting with an aim of increasing attendance and providing a venue for open community discussion.

3.3 The Council shall continue to provide opportunities for members of the public to discuss issues with councillors.

3.4 The Council shall continue to appoint members to represent the Council on community organisations as requested.

3.5 The Council shall continue to utilise social media and its website for receiving and responding to comments from the community.

4. Consultation

4.1 When the Town Council is seeking views on a specific project or idea it will consult with the community.

4.2 Whilst the majority of consultations will be open to the whole community it may on occasion consult with specific stakeholders only.

4.3 When planning a consultation the Council will identify the key stakeholders for that specific consultation exercise to ensure they are directly consulted.

4.4 Consultations will be publicised as widely as possible and will have a defined end date for submissions.

4.5 The Council will be clear about why it is consulting and how the consultation will be used in the Council’s decision making process.

4.6 The timing of consultations will be considered for example to coincide with events or to avoid clashes with holidays.

4.7 The Council shall consider the format of the consultation which may include:

  1. Open consultation on the Council website
  2. Consultation documents at key venues around the town
  3. Direct consultation (e.g. letters/leaflets/social media etc)
  4. Focus groups
  5. The use of consultation engagement events:
    1. Public meetings
    2. Exhibitions
    3. Stalls in the town centre, at events etc

5. Petitions

5.1 The Council welcomes and encourages its community to provide feedback to the council and offers many opportunities and ways to do so as a matter of course.

5.2 The Council recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let the council know their concerns.

5.3 The Council will treat something as a petition if it is identified as such, or if it seems to them that it is intended to be a petition. A petition will be treated as such if it has at least 10 signatories or petitioners.

5.4 Petitions should be addressed to the council and submitted to:

The Town Clerk
Macclesfield Town Council
Macclesfield Town Hall
Market Place
SK10 1EA

5.5 Petitions can also be presented at any of the scheduled council meetings during public participation.

5.6 Signatories to petitions will only be considered valid if they are resident within the parish of Macclesfield.

5.7 Petitions submitted to the council must include:

  1. A clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition and the action the petitioners wish the council to take
  2. The name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition

5.8 Petitions must be accompanied by contact details, including either a postal or e-mail address, for the petition organiser. This is the person the council will contact to explain how it will respond to the petition. If the petition does not identify an organiser, the council will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the organiser.

Petitions with 100+ signatures

5.9 A petition with 100 or more identifiable signatures will be put forward for debate, as a separate agenda item, at the next suitable meeting of the Council or the relevant committee.

6.0 Where a petition is debated by committee, the Chairman of the committee shall report on this to the next Council meeting.

6.1 The petition organiser (or an appointed deputy) will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by members for a maximum of 15 minutes.

6.2. The council will determine how to respond to the petition at this meeting; usually this shall be to:

  1. action the petition requests
  2. not action the petition requests for reasons put forward in the debate
  3. commission further investigation into the matter

6.3 The petition organiser will receive a written confirmation of the decision.

Petitions with 10-99 signatures

6.4 A petition with between 10 and 99 signatures shall be reviewed by the Town Clerk, Town Mayor, Deputy Town Mayor and relevant members (e.g. the appropriate committee members or ward members) to determine the appropriate course of action.

6.5 At the discretion of the Town Mayor, a petition may be referred to Council or the appropriate committee for debate as per petitions with in excess of 100 signatures.

6.6 The petition organiser will receive a written confirmation of the decision.

General Provisions

6.7 An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within ten working days of receiving the petition which will explain what the council plans to do.

6.8 Details of the petition will be published on the Council’s website, although the contact details of the petition organiser will not be included.

6.9 A petition will not normally be considered if a similar petition was considered within the previous six months.

7.0 When more than one petition is received seeking the same outcome, they will be treated separately, but only the petition organiser of the first petition to be received will be invited to address the relevant meeting.

7.1 If the petition is about something over which the Council has no direct control it may consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body.

7.2 Petitions will not be presented to the Annual Meeting of the Council nor to extraordinary meetings which are not called for the purpose of receiving the petition.

7.3 Petitions which are considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.