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Norfolk County Council Advertising Framework 2014/15

Background and general principles

We welcome the opportunity to publicise information and products that may be of interest to Norfolk residents.

We will generally accept advertising which does not conflict with our residents' living safe, healthy and economically independent lifestyles, and whose association will not bring the Council into disrepute.

Our basic principle is that we will offer advertising opportunities through our channels to generate income for the authority aimed at achieving best value for our residents, but that as a local authority with specific duties and responsibilities we will take regard of the type and nature of the advertising that is acceptable.

We will make our advertising opportunities available to all and will not seek to exploit our position to offer advertising at a cost which undercuts locally available market rates.

Where we seek a partner to sell advertising opportunities on our behalf this will be subject to a tendered arrangement for a fixed term with regular review.

We will only offer advertising on sites where the necessary permissions or consents have been granted to us by the local planning authorities under the Town and Country Planning Advertisements Regulations.

We will identify advertising clearly when and where it occurs, and make sure that there is no suggestion that Norfolk County Council endorses the products or services advertised or that the advertiser can claim any special relationship with the Council.

A maximum level of advertising will be set for each channel and intrusive advertising will be avoided.

All corporate advertising channels will be centrally managed, and all approaches should be made through the Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager.

The ultimate use of income generated by advertising will be agreed by elected Members, with a general principle that services which rely on generating income to offset operating costs should receive an agreed proportion of revenues generated by use of their specific premises, webpages, publications, vehicles etc.

This policy provides guidelines for the acceptance of all forms of advertising, both print and electronic.

Advertising opportunities and restrictions

The Council is keen to maximise revenue from advertising, and so rather than define all specific permitted advertising (e.g white list), we work on the basis that advertising is permitted unless it falls into a number of prohibited categories (black list) see following section - Acceptable products, services and advertisers.

Some forms of advertising may be acceptable at certain times but not at others, eg organisations with current planning applications/contractors bidding for current tenders, organisations in financial or legal conflict with the council.

Advertising opportunities fall into two specific categories which carry the potential of different levels of reputational risk to the authority, and will therefore be treated differently.

Section 1: Those channels which are most clearly associated with Norfolk County Council - including but not exclusively our main and associated websites, intranet, corporate and service publications, vehicles, etc.

Section 2; Those channels where Norfolk County Council acts as landlord or operator but which may be managed for us under transparent and tendered arrangements - including but not exclusively outdoor advertising such as billboards, hoardings on our properties or land and public transport.  These outlets will be subject to advertising rules which deal with the proximity of outdoor advertising to schools, religious organisations etc.

The policy assumes that all advertising presented falls within the rules and guidelines laid down by the Advertising Standards Authority and that all advertising must comply with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing- full details can be downloaded at ASA (opens new window).

The guidelines include the provision that marketing communications must be legal, decent, honest and truthful; must not bring advertising into disrepute; must conform to the Code; and must respect the principles of fair competition.

Advertising will also be subject to the Local Government Publicity Code with specific regard to advertising which is acceptable in the run up to local or national elections, and to the Financial Services Authority.

Acceptable products, services and advertisers

Specifically Section 1

We  will generally accept advertising which does not conflict with our residents' living safe, healthy and economically independent lifestyles, and whose association will not bring the Council into disrepute.

We will ensure that advertising most clearly and closely associated with our activities (eg section 1) seeks to complement our aims and objectives, and those of our key partners, and does not create confused, conflicting messages.

Advertising of foods and drink will be restricted to products and services that either support or are related to healthy behaviours.  Healthy behaviours will be determined using current health and wellbeing guidance, available at NHS. (opens new window)

Examples of goods and services the Council is unlikely to accept will therefore include: tobacco/tobacco products; adult services (sex industry); weapons or violence; gambling; and alcohol.

In addition we will not accept advertising in this section which is designed to promote a particular political party or seeks persuade residents of a particular creed or belief.

In the event of dispute, final decisions will be made by the Leader of the Council and Managing Director

Section 2

Where Norfolk County Council is the landlord or is seeking advertising support for events in the county which rely on local support (eg Tour of Britain) but where direct connection with us is more limited, rules are less restrictive.

However, we will not produce, endorse, or knowingly be associated with any form of advertising (or sponsorship) that promotes: violence or arms manufacture; tobacco, or tobacco products; or the sex industry.

Selection and quality assurance

Local advertisers will be reviewed via trading standards consumer protection as far as this is practical, and where a tender arrangement exists with a third party they will owe a duty of care to Norfolk County Council through their contract that advertisers will meet the ASA guidelines and indemnify the County Council against any claims, damages, losses etc. arising out of any default on the advertisers part in relation to the advertising.

We reserve the right to refuse advertising for any reason.

We also reserve the right to remove advertising at short notice should the subject matter be likely to appear insensitive/cause offence, particularly but not exclusively in the light of local or national events e.g. natural disasters, missing children, etc.


All advertising carried on our websites and publications will carry the following disclaimer:

"Norfolk County Council does not warrant the accuracy of any description or statement contained in any advertisement within this xxx, nor does it endorse any product or service advertised."

We will make reasonable efforts to ensure that only advertisements suitable for 'family viewing' appear through Council channels with regard to images used or copy content. However we do not control third party sites, content or products.  Advertisers may have different use and privacy policies, for which we cannot accept responsibility.

We will display a link to this advertising policy on any page of our website which carries advertising and an email link so that customers with any concerns can raise them with us promptly.

Advertising rates

Advertising rates are set with regard to current market conditions locally and do not seek to offer unfair advantage against private sector organisations in Norfolk by undercutting the prices of other local commercial organisations.

The advertising rates will be adjusted when and where applicable to maximise income for the council without reducing revenue streams through becoming priced out of the local market place.

The opportunities, prohibitions and costs to advertise will be published with the 'Rate Card', on our website, which is freely available to all advertisers and their agents, and applied transparently. Registered charities may seek an exemption from VAT by completing the relevant VAT exemption form as supplied by the Inland Revenue.

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