Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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More adverts could be seen around town centre, the Rotherham Show, the council website and the borough's bin lorries as Rotherham Council looks to generate income by offering more sponsorship opportunities.

Rothbiz reported recently that Rotherham Council was required to find savings of £15.2m for 2018/19, with further savings of £30m required over the period 2019/20 and 2020/21.

The authority's cabinet has this week approved a new policy to establish a corporate approach to advertising and sponsorship across the Council.

The Advertising and Sponsorship Policy gives the Council control and sets out what is acceptable in terms of content and ensures no conflict with priorities, values or services, at the same time as maximising opportunities and income.

Some sponsorship activity already takes place such as companies and organisations getting involved with the annual Christmas lights switch on event in the town centre and a third-party company selling advertising on roundabouts.

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Chris Burton, head of communications and marketing at Rotherham Council, and former editor with local news publisher, Johnston Press, said in a report: "There is a need to ensure the council maximises opportunities and income and secures best value for money. It is therefore considered that a policy is required to clearly set out what is acceptable in terms of advertising and sponsorship content / material and ensure no conflict with council priorities, values or services – and how the council will approach this."

The report adds that there are opportunities for the Council to generate income from advertising on assets (refuse vehicles etc, street furniture, roundabouts, billboards), advertising in communication channels (staff magazine, website, Council Tax billing information), and sponsorship of events or assets (Christmas lights, Rotherham Show, All Saints Fountain etc.).

Naming rights will not be pursued by the Council.

Content will need to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not bring the Council into disrepute. The authority said that it would "take all possible steps to prevent situations where it could be construed that an advertiser or sponsor has influenced Council officers or members in carrying out their roles, and decision-making, or received preferential treatment or is able to make any undue gain from or as a result of an advertising or sponsorship arrangement."

No financial details are included in the report. The Council's budget proposals for 2018/19 include the prospect of saving £46,000 through the sponsorship for Christmas illuminations and £20,000 through the introduction of advertising/sponsorship on waste collection vehicles.

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: "There are a couple of specific lines in our budget this year where we were seeking sponsorship for particular events, the Christmas lights being the most obvious one. As part of that process we are wanting to have some rules in place so that there is some clarity, both for Council officers and for people who may wish to sponsor or advertise through the Council, about what we wouldn't accept and the circumstances in which that would happen.

"That helps us, hopefully, to attract that money more easily, because we are clear and upfront about what we are trying to do, but also protects the reputation of the Council."

Images: RMBC

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