Council set to defy magazine warning
Response to letter over publication frequency
HILLINGDON Council is set to defy the government over the publication of its magazine, Hillingdon People.
In August, the council was sent a warning letter by Kris Hopkins, Minister for Local Government, stating that he considered Hillingdon People was in breach of the Code of Practice on Local Authority Publicity, which states council magazines should not be issued more than quarterly.
Hillingdon People is printed six times a year and delivered free of charge to homes across the borough.
Hillingdon Council has responded to the government in a letter obtained by the Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the letter, the council says that ‘for a community to be a healthy democracy, local understanding of the democratic process is important, and effective communication is key to developing that understanding’.
It also claims that producing the magazine means the council avoids having to provide ‘a proliferation of other leaflets and pamphlets’.
The letter ends: “The council is of the firm view that it is acting fully in accordance with the spirit of the Publicity Code and it sees no reason why it should change its current practice of publishing Hillingdon People six times a year.”
Newham, in East London, also publishes a council magazine.
It was sent a warning letter by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in April this year, along with four other local authorities, for alleged breach of the requirements that publications should be objective and even-handed, in addition to being published too frequently.
Newham Council, in a response also obtained using an FOI request, has accused Mr Pickles of singling out Labour or independent authorities in East London in his quest to stop what Mr Pickles calls ‘Town Hall Pravdas’ – essentially council propaganda.
Newham’s response could explain why a batch of Conservative councils, including Hillingdon, were subsequently issued with warning letters about the frequency of their publications in August. Newham anticipates challenging Mr Pickles by way of judicial review if he directs it to change the frequency or contents of its magazine.
It is not known if Hillingdon intends to take the same course of action.
The council comment.
to CORRECTION: In last week’s story on page two, ‘Splashing the cash on refurbishment of pool’, we referred to Mencap as a mental health charity.
It in fact works with people who are mentally handicapped and we apologise for the error. CORRECTION: In our Five Of The Best section on Wednesday, October 1, we incorrectly listed the KLOS Musical Theatre number.
‘Anything Goes’ is at the Winston Churchill Theatre, Ruislip from tonight (Wednesday) until Friday, October 17, and you should call 01895 349 521 for tickets or visit the website at www. klosmusicaltheatre.co.uk.