At the last standards committee meeting in July where the social media policy was debated, committee member, David Mason said he was concerned that the policy contained a “gagging clause” and could prevent councillors from giving their views freely about controversial issues, such as the local plan, for example – see account of the meeting here – https://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/social_media_policy_could_gag_councillors/

At the last EDDC full council meeting on 24 July I raised these concerns and proposed that it be amended.

Cllr Roger Giles also asked that the restriction on blogging about “sensitive” issues be deleted from the policy.  Including the word “sensitive” could have prevented blogging about a whole range of interesting or controversial issues.

The reference to “sensitive” issues, has duly been deleted in the revised version of the policy.

The new clause on not blogging about any issue that may bring the council into disrepute has been changed from: 

“You must not make any comment or post material that may cause damage to the council’s reputation or bring it into disrepute.” 

to

“You must not make any comment or post material so as to give a reasonable person the impression that you have brought your office as councillor or the council into disrepute.”

Will this sentence be used in an attempt to restrict my blogging activities? 

Only time will tell….

The revised draft is now online with the standards committee agenda papers and will be debated next Wednesday, 9 October, at 10am, in the EDDC council chamber

Here’s the link to the agenda papers – http://eastdevon.gov.uk/combined_standards_agenda_091013.pdf