GUIDANCE ON CONDITIONS OF USE
The purpose of the Site is to help you promote your work as a local Councillor. It is your site and you will be responsible for its contents. However, Leicester City Council requires that Members sign the Conditions of Use before posting to the Site and reserves the right to remove content that it determines to be in breach of the Conditions of Use and/or otherwise unlawful.
Members are advised that using the site in a way which breaks the conditions of use could lead to Members being personally liable in the civil or criminal courts. Adherence to the Conditions of Use should ensure that such liability will not be incurred.
Below is a very brief guide to the relevant areas of law.
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) concerns the use of personal data.
"Personal data" is defined by the Act as information which relates to a living individual who can be identified from those data or from those data and any other information which is in the possession of or likely to come into the possession of the data controller. It can include any expression of opinion about the individual, and any images of an individual.
Leicester City Council requires that Members do not post any personal data unless they have the express written consent of the individual concerned.
Although the Act is only concerned with “living individuals” Leicester City Council asks that Members afford the same considerations to deceased persons in posting information on their Site. In such cases, it may be appropriate to consider the wishes of the next-of-kin.
Further information is available on the Council's intranet site or from the Information Governance Team (252 7600). The Information Commissioner's site at www.ico.gov.uk
. is a useful source of information.
Duty of confidentiality – Regardless of the Data Protection Act Members may owe a common law duty of confidentiality to another party and should take care not to breach such a duty even where the disclosure would not amount to a breach under data protection or libel laws. The duty extends to deceased persons.
A defamatory statement is one that causes an adverse effect on a person’s reputation. Libel means a defamatory statement that is published, for example, in a letter or on the Internet. In certain cases there may be a defence to a claim for libel, for example, that the person who made the statement is justified in damaging a reputation because the statement was true. An individual, a specific group of people (e.g. a board of school governors) or an organisation with its own legal entity, (e.g. a limited or public limited company) may successfully sue for libel.
Members are reminded that the worldwide web is just that, worldwide, and that a defamed individual could, in theory at least, sue not only in an English court but also in another jurisdiction where defamation laws are different.
Members must not use the Site to publish any defamatory statement.
Members may not post any statements or images or provide links to external sites that may incite racial hatred or are otherwise racist, sexist, or otherwise unlawfully discriminatory. Racial or sex discrimination or harassment could lead to civil or criminal proceedings under the Race Relations Act, 1975; Sex Discrimination Act 1976; or the Public Order Act 1986.
The Code of Practice on local authority publicity states: -
“Publicity about individual councillors may include the contact details, the positions they hold in the Council (for example a member of the Executive or Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee) and their responsibilities. Publicity may also include information about individual councillors’ proposals, decisions and recommendations only where this is relevant to their position and responsibilities within the council. All such publicity should be objective and explanatory and whilst it may acknowledge the part played by individual councillors as holders of particular positions in the council, personalisation of issues or personal image making should be avoided.
"Publicity should not be, or liable to misrepresentation as being, party political. Whilst it may be appropriate to describe policies put forward by an individual councillor which are relevant to her/his position and responsibilities within the council, and to put forward his/her justification in defence of them, this should not be done in party political terms, using political slogans, expressly advocating policies of those of a particular political party, or directly attacking policies and opinions of other parties, groups or individuals”.
It is a legal requirement that Members do not use their site to: -
· promote political campaigns and advocate political stances on issues.
· promote a political party or persons identified with a political party.
· promote or oppose a view on a question of political controversy, which is identifiable as the view of one political party and not of another.
Members may link to external websites, to a political party for example, providing that the linked site is not offensive, unlawfully discriminatory or otherwise offensive.
Elected Members Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct can be found at Part 5 of the Council’s Constitution at:
In using the Site Members must ensure that they adhere to the Constitution, the Code and its ten Principles.
Representation of the People Act Restrictions
During election times (from the ‘notice of an election’ to the election itself), most parts of Councillors’ websites will be suspended. Visitors will still, however, be able to contact them through the main Leicester City Council website.
Copyright/Intellectual Property Rights
Care must be taken not to use material from other websites or publications without the consent of the other party (including Leicester City Council). Material that might infringe copyright will include not only written material but also the use of images, photographic or otherwise, sound recordings and computer software.
It is a criminal offence to publish obscene material under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 as amended. Under the Telecommunications Act 1984 it is a criminal offence for any person to send a message that is grossly offensive, indecent or obscene by means of a telecommunications system, which includes the internet and email.
Insurance and Indemnity
Members are required to indemnify Leicester City Council as part of the User Agreement. In limited circumstances Members may be protected against claims arising as a result of the use of this site under the Council’s insurance policy. However, they should not assume this to be the case and if in doubt should contact Members’ Services.
Members of the public will be able to make complaints to the Administrator where they feel that a Member is in breach of the Conditions of Use. The procedure is described in Appendix A (attached). Details of a complainant, although not the nature of the complaint, will remain confidential to the Administrator.
The above is intended as a brief guide to the relevant laws and is not intended as an authoritative or definitive guide. Members with concerns about legal issues should in the first place contact Members’ Services and/or seek independent legal advice.
Leicester City Council
- Any Councillor or member of the public can make complaints about the content of a councillor’s website. The complainant will be asked to complete their contact details, without which a complaint cannot be made. All complaints will be sent to the Administrator at email@example.com.
- The following Officers will be able to make a decision on any complaint: Town Clerk, Service Director (Democratic Services) or the Administrator.
- The Administrator will deal with complaints as soon as notification is received or the next working day.
- If complaints are made during the weekend or bank holiday the complaint will be considered on the next working day.
- If the complaint is ‘not valid’ no action will be taken and the Administrator will notify the complainant. The relevant Councillor will also be informed that an invalid complaint has been received; however, the complainants name or contact details will not be given.
- Complaints that are believed to be ‘valid’ by the Adjudicating Officer will be dealt with as follows:
- The relevant Councillor will be notified of the complaint, however, the name and contact details will not be given to the Councillor.
- Data Protection purposes the Administrator will be the only person holding the complainants contact details.
- If the Adjudicating Officer believes that the content being complained about warrant’s it, the Administrator will immediately take the site down to prevent the Councillor’s site from being seen on the Internet.
- The Administrator will then contact the Councillor against whom the complaint has been lodged to advise him/her to remove, or make suitable changes to the material, which is the subject of the complaint within 24 hours. If the Councillor is on holiday the site will be taken down until the necessary changes have been made.
- The Councillor’s website will be restored as soon as the Administrator has verified the necessary changes have been made.
- If the changes have ‘not’ been made within the required time scale the site will remain disabled.
- If the Councillor makes the appropriate changes ‘after’ the required time scale the Councillor’s website will be restored as soon as the Administrator has verified the necessary changes have been made.
MEMBERS' SITE – CONDITIONS OF USE
This is an Agreement between Leicester City Council and each individual Member using the site. It sets out how the site may be used. Members are asked to read the Agreement and to sign it if they agree to the conditions. Members will be unable to use the site without signing up to this Agreement.
1. In signing this Agreement I, Councillor , agree to abide by its terms and by the terms of any associated Guidance, and any future amendments thereto (which shall be communicated to me by the Council).
2. In managing my site I undertake not to: -
2.1 post any personal information or data (including images or expressions of opinion) about any other individual unless: -
2.1.1 I have the express written consent of that individual, or
2.1.2 the details are sufficiently anonymised to prevent identification, or
2.1.3 the data are already legitimately in the public domain and publication by me will not otherwise breach the terms of this Agreement.
2.2 Use personal data that I collect from visitors to my site for any purpose other than those stated at the time the data was collected.
2.3 Make defamatory statements about any organisation, living individual or a specific group of people
2.4 Post any statements or images or provide links to external sites that may incite racial hatred or are otherwise racist, or sexist, or unlawfully discriminatory.
2.5 Post any statements or images that are offensive, obscene, or otherwise breach the Obscene Publications Act 1959, as amended or the Telecommunications Act 1984 and subsequently amended legislation.
2.6 Use the site to promote party political campaigns or issues or to directly attack the policies and opinions of other parties, groups or individuals or otherwise breach the Local Government Act 1986 Code of Practice on Publicity.
2.7 Post any statements or images in breach of the Council’s or another party's copyright or intellectual property rights.
3. In managing the site I agree: -
3.1 that for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 I am the Data Controller and will comply with the requirements of that Act. These include, but are not necessarily limited to: -
3.1.1 the requirements regarding the processing of personal data;
3.1.2 the requirement to ensure that my Notification to the Information Commissioner is up-to-date and includes provision for the collection of data on this site.
3.2 To adhere to the National General Principles and the Model Code of Conduct and the Council’s Political Conventions, which includes but is not limited to provisions concerning a Member's behaviour; the disclosure of information and the making of executive decisions.
3.3 To uphold the Council's Constitution.
3.4 To indemnify and keep fully indemnified the Council against all actions, claims, damages, demands, proceedings, costs, chargers and expenses arising from my provision of the Site, whether directly or indirectly and whether by any act or omission by me or my agents, whether negligent or otherwise.
3.5 That the Council reserves the right to suspend or withdraw in whole or in part the site or my use of it in accordance with the complaints procedure.
3.6 That the Council reserves the right to suspend or withdraw in whole or in part the Site or my use of it without notice in the event that the Council determines that it is appropriate to do so.
SIGNED ................................................................................. Councillor
Members’ Services copy Councillor’s copy