Haringey Council criticized for number of magazines it publishes

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Opposition advisers accused Haringey Council of wasting thousands of pounds on a “propaganda” magazine they say violates official guidelines.

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to step in and review the council’s Haringey People magazine, saying the publication flouts a code designed to protect local newspapers from unfair competition by being published too regularly.

But the council said it did not intend to reduce the magazine’s frequency, arguing it has a duty to ensure residents are properly informed about the work of the local authority and its services. .

The government’s local authority advertising code of practice states that councils should not issue newsletters, bulletins, or similar communications more often than quarterly. Haringey People is published six times a year and the Lib Dems claim that each issue costs the council more than £ 20,000.

Lib Dem leader Luke Cawley-Harrison said: “Our borough is fortunate that we still have a thriving local press, which these guidelines are meant to protect. However, it appears Haringey’s union council is more concerned. to promote themselves at all costs – including using taxpayers’ money.

“The rules for sending magazines are pretty clear, but Haringey has continued to flout them, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years beyond what’s allowed. If they refuse to follow the code of conduct , ministers should step in to make sure they do. ”

Other councils have already been reprimanded under the code, including neighboring Enfield, which in 2014 was criticized by the government for a newsletter sent out every two months. The Waltham Forest Council also lost a lawsuit against the government in 2019 when it fought to continue publishing Waltham Forest News every two weeks.

The Lib Dems, who have repeatedly called for the council’s communications budget to be cut to help fund services, also claimed that the weekly Haringey People Extra email could violate the code.

A council spokesperson said: “We have a duty to ensure that residents are properly informed about the work of the council and its services. Haringey People, delivered to every household, plays a key role in this.

“This is especially crucial for residents who cannot use digital services and other platforms. During the pandemic, the magazine was an important source of information to keep residents informed on matters relating to public health, vaccines and financial support.

“Haringey People also aims to celebrate the accomplishments of the residents of Haringey and to highlight the truly important work that those who support our communities do.

“We believe this strikes the right balance between keeping the public informed about local authority services and any changes to these services, especially in these difficult times.

“Given its role, importance and popularity with locals – in the latest resident survey, almost 70% said it was their favorite source of information about the council – we do not intend to reduce its frequency. ”


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