Don't tweet when you're angry: Telford & Wrekin councillors to be given social media training

Councillors are to be ordered: “Do not post comments on social media if you are angry, tired or in a bad mood”.

Members of Telford & Wrekin Council could be given training on how to use social media following complaints about its use by some councillors.

A report will be put before the council’s standards committee later this month asking members to consider whether or not the existing social media protocol for councillors needs to be reviewed.

It also recommends that an officer provides training on the use of social media, including the legal ramifications of misusing it.

The report by Jonathan Eatough, Telford & Wrekin Council’s assistant director of governance, states there have been complaints from fellow councillors and members of the public about comments on social media.

It says: “The key areas where complaints have arisen is in relation to exchanges between councillors and complaints from members of the public who have alleged overly personal attacks.”

The report says none of the complaints have been referred for investigation, although one complaint is “pending following suggested local resolution”.

Costs of any training would be covered in existing budgets.

It would offer practical tips for effective use of social media and explain the legal implications of going too far.

The existing social media protocol for councillors suggests being clear when making comments in a private capacity and deleting defamatory or obscene posts from others.

It also includes advice on not posting comments in haste, especially if councillors are “angry, tired or in a bad mood”.

The report adds: “The use of social media is undoubtedly a useful tool for democratic engagement but can be controversial in respect of the tone of communication, its immediacy and its perceived transient nature.”

It will be discussed by the committee at a meeting on April 25.

It comes after it was revealed earlier this month that Shrewsbury’s MP and the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council had become embroiled in a row over claims of “intimidatory” use of social media.

Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski has written to Telford & Wrekin Council asking it to investigate its Labour leader Shaun Davies over “intimidating” tweets about hospital boss Simon Wright. Councillor Davies hit back, insisting he is simply “holding people to account” and representing the views of the people of Telford & Wrekin.

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Comments for: "Don't tweet when you're angry: Telford & Wrekin councillors to be given social media training"

HR

Such a shame that the councillors are unable to think before they put their thoughts in written format.

It also begs the question "Why do the residents have to pay to teach them?"

Time for the electorate to be more active/discerning to teach them the best lesson. Act like a fool and lose all that you believe you is yours.

PJS

Perhaps the Telford MP could give them lessons in social media etiquette?

pete

Yes, David Wright was an out right embarrassment with his lipstick nonsense.

.......................Bless.

Flam Trotted

If councillors have to be taught about basic manners, civility and how not to libel people, perhaps they shouldn't be councillors?

dezza

So public services are cut and our councils think this is a good idea and sensible use of public money.

Roger

Misuse of Social Media is not a problem for councillors alone. It's rife throughout the general population, particularly by bulling children. Grouping bulling cjildren and Councillors might seem a strange thing to do but I fear it an ego thing they have in common.

Such a training course if devised should be taught in all secondary school at age eleven before they really get going. It should also be available so that complaints about the media misuse had a resort of training before prosecution as a part of a cautioning process.

It's a good idea to have a course and a better idea to use it far more widely.

pete

I would suggest that grouping bullying children with Councillors as being utterly unfair to the children.

.................................Bless.

Jett

Hopefully they'll be able to get Donald Trump as a guest speaker. We’re starting to get used to the new President now and envying the Americans. At least you know your leader is concentrating, when at two in the morning he puts insightful messages on Twitter such as “Mexicans have been stealing my biscuits. Disgrace!!! Buy your own Digestives Pedro!!” Or “Muslim terrorists blow up Tuesdays across Europe! Bad guys make weeks shorter!!! Must attack them with werewolves.”

n3bpml

perhaps the T &WC Labour leader could resign in view of his misconduct of being found guilty by his own profession of misuse of clients money. If they have to be taught most basic communication skills, how to respect people they should not be in public office.

MarkH

Hear Hear about time they are brought to account for their pathetic vindictive snide bitter remarks and posts they put on social media. Strikes me some councillors have too much time on their hands. The rhetoric and nasty nature on social media from local political parties and some local councillors leave a lot to be desired. The content displayed in some of their posts are at times offensive, disrespectful and extremely intimidating.

Is this behaviour a way of protecting "what they are getting out of it" (The remuneration rewards for being a councillor) that is driving this disrespectful pack mentality. This pack mentality is akin to a little boys club and shows how narrow minded our local elected representatives really are.

We wouldn't allow our children to be this disrespectful, if councillors want to be taken seriously they should be more responsible for their words and actions.

One of the truest signs of maturity is the ability to disagree with someone while still remaining respectful.

jonjo

Its quite simple really, if cllrs cannot use social media in a respectful way then they should not be cllrs, so daddyo get your act together!

Damocrat

You appear to have forgotten to add the phrase, 'unless you die'.

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