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Should council websites carry advertising?

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LGC's Viewpoints panel discuss the issue of the week.

“I have seen sponsored roundabouts, adverts in council newsletters and even on council vehicles so I don’t think there’s any issue of principle here at all. The concern would be to ensure that inappropriate adverts are not placed automatically by a software-driven system.”

Alasdair Bovaird Chief executive, Uttlesford DC

“Advertisements could be seen as product or company endorsements and, at a time when most councils are trying to build trust in e-services, they could have a negative impact on perceived impartiality.”

Tim Murphy Corporate director of ICT, Chorley BC

“Why shouldn’t council websites carry adverts? Council roundabouts do.”

Jan Britton Head of highways and environment, Sandwell MBC

“Commercial adverts paid for by third parties would suggest endorsement of what is advertised. Websites should of course advertise council services so much of what we do is not understood by the wider public.”

Diane Tilley Director of planning, economy and performance, Worcestershire CC

“I think it is a good idea in principle. However, I can already see the GMTV headlines around the issues of targeting ads and privacy. Any initiative would need careful controls.”

Guy Holloway Head of corporate development, Kettering BC

“Our websites are already offering a huge number of services and reams of information across a very wide range of services, 24/7. They don’t need to be cluttered with ads for the sake of
a few bob.”

Michael Coughlin Chief executive, Crawley BC

To join LGC's Viewpoints panel, email news editor Nick Golding.

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