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Advertising and Sponsorship Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Cornwall Council has a policy on advertising in order to:

  • uphold the Council’s reputation and corporate identity
  • further the Council’s mission and priority outcomes (by facilitating communication messages)
  • secure best value for money and maximise income
  • provide a framework and control measures
  • establish a corporate approach and standards
  • ensure compliance with legislation, advertising industry codes and other Council procedures and policies (eg. brand guidelines)
  • support and manage commercial partnerships with the private sector

2 Context

2.1 Advertising is a form of communication used to raise awareness, encourage or persuade an audience - viewers, readers or listeners or a specific group of people – to do or believe something. Advertising is usually paid for.

2.2 Advertising messages can take a variety of forms and can be viewed via a variety of traditional and new media (eg. newspapers, magazines, television commercial, radio advertisement, outdoor advertising, direct mail, blogs, websites, digital advertising and text messages).

2.3 A person who consumes advertising is anyone who is likely to receive a given marketing communication, whether in the course of business or not.

3 Scope and application

3.1 This policy is two-fold, covering:

  • the Council as an advertiser and
  • the Council as an owner of an advertising platform which an external individual, group or organisation may wish to take up.

3.2 This policy is supported by the following documents

  • The Council’s standard terms and conditions for advertisers wishing to use Council owned-platforms for contracts under £100k. For contracts over £100k, Commercial Services and Legal Services should be engaged to discuss requirements and draw up bespoke terms and conditions, if deemed necessary.

3.3 Recruitment advertising placed by the Council should take account of this policy but is covered by a separate procedure, owned by our HR Resourcing team.

3.4 Any historical advertising arrangements will be reviewed, and this policy will be applied to those arrangements as soon as practicable, for example, at the time of re tendering a contract.

3.5 When working with an advertiser, it is important that any agreement supports the Council’s strategic vision, priorities, procedures and policies.

3.5.1 This policy does not cover sponsorship. Should sponsorship be in consideration, Commercial, legal and Communications and Engagement services should be consulted prior to any agreement.

3.5.2 All sponsorship bids must be approved in consultation with the requisite Strategic Directors and Cabinet members where applicable.

4 General Principles

4.1 The Council has a duty to seek best value for money when placing advertising. The Council’s Communications and Engagement service will provide expertise on whether advertising is the most appropriate marketing communications method for the required outcome.

4.2 When placing advertising careful consideration must be given as to the reason for placing advertising and the desired outcome. Cornwall Council is committed to using its resources wisely. Advertising placed should provide clear and measurable results that are based in Return on investment (RoI) or social value.

4.3 The Council abides by a range of national guidance and polices, published by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) - the UK's independent regulator of advertising across all online and offline media. The central principle for all advertising (marketing communications) is that it should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. For more information visit: . We will also follow the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, the Equality Act and the Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

4.4 The Council will advertise its own services and offers as appropriate, using its own platforms. This may include advertisements relating to traded services or quasi[1]trading services, which generate an income. The Council permits paid-for advertising on some of the platforms it owns, and this may include advertising from for-profit companies. In both these circumstances the Council will comply with the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

4.5 The Council encourages advertising on its own platforms that supports its strategic vision and priorities for Cornwall. This might include advertising messages on safety, healthy living and environmental sustainability; messages which support local businesses; and promotion of events and attractions that would attract visitors into the county.

4.6 When placing (or displaying) advertising careful consideration should be given to the environmental impact of the placement. With a commitment to carbon neutrality and reduction of single use plastics. Services utilising advertising should be aware of the impact of advertising upon these commitments and where possible avoiding placements that would have a detrimental impact.

5. Advertising standards

5.1 The Council will not place or permit any advertising that represents a conflict of interest with our strategic vision, priorities, procedures and policies, or is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of any applicable protected characteristic as set out in the Equality Act 2010. Content that is not permitted for advertising or sponsorship includes, but is not limited to, advertising that contains, infers or suggests any of the following:

  • advocacy of, or opposition to, any politically, environmentally or socially controversial subjects or issues
  • advertising of products and services that have a negative impact on, or conflict with, council strategic vision and priorities
  • disparagement or promotion of any person or class of persons
  • promotion or incitement of illegal, violent or socially undesirable acts
  • promotion or availability of tobacco products, weapons, gambling, illegal drugs, or food and drink products high in fat, salt or sugar. Foods high is fat, salt or sugar are defined in the Government’s nutrient profiling model and promotion of HFSS foods is not permitted without exception ([1]profilingmodel )
  • advertising of financial organisations and loan advancers with punitive interest rates • promotion or availability of adult or sexually orientated entertainment materials
  • advertising that infringes on any trademark, copyright or patent rights of another company
  • claims or representations in violation of advertising or consumer protection laws.

5.2 The Council holds personal data of service users and careful consideration needs to be given to whether it is appropriate and legal in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018, for this to be used for any advertising or direct marketing purposes. Using data to target residents and service users with advertising and information outside those services they are receiving may only be delivered if users (residents) have explicitly opted-in to receive such marketing communications.

5.3 Where it is legally permissible, or at the Council’s sole discretion, the Council may refuse applications from companies who are in dispute with the Council or where there is pending/active legal action. We will also not accept advertising or sponsorship from companies who are participating in a procurement, or are in contract negotiation with the Council, where this may be viewed as an endorsement of the bid.

5.4 The Council will uphold the Publicity Code of recommended practice on local authority publicity. This means the Council is not able to enter into an advertising agreement, or place advertising, which connects the Council with lending support to any political party.

5.5 Whether advertising is a suitable method or whether external requests to use Council-owned platforms should be approved, will be decided on a case-by case basis on the merits of each opportunity or request. This request should be made to the Head of Communications and Engagement for Cornwall Council via

5.6 All advertising on Council-owned advertising platforms must adhere to the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing. This code provides the rules for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications.  

5.7 The Council abides by the Town and Country Planning Act. The Control of Advertisements Regulations provides the rules on displaying advertising. The Council has the duty to ensure all advertising on Council[1]owned platforms falls within this legislation and to ensure planning law relating to the display of advertisements is complied with.

5.8 All applicants wishing to utilise Council owned advertising media and any organisation wishing to sponsor a Council owned product or service must adhere to this policy and the Council’s Terms and Conditions. For contracts over £100k these terms and conditions may need to be bespoke and legal and commercial services should be consulted.

5.9 The use of branding and logos of any partner company must not interfere with the Council’s own Brand Policy or Guidelines.

5.10 The size and positioning of partner logos on any promotional material, goods or signage must be considered by the appropriate lead officer in conjunction with the Council’s Brand Policy and advice sought from the Communications and Engagement service.

6. Other considerations

6.1 The Council’s Communications and Engagement service provides expertise on and is the owner of the Advertising Policy. All Council services and employees must comply with this policy. The Council’s Communications and Engagement service is responsible for advising on all advertising opportunities and enquiries unless these are discharged by a third party under a formally procured contract or concession arrangement. Where this is the case, any third party must apply this policy and this should be reflected in contractual arrangements.

7. Further information

7.1 For any queries about this policy contact the Council’s Communications and Engagement service by emailing

8. Disclaimer

Acceptance of advertising or sponsorship does not imply endorsement of products and services by the Council. In order to make this clear all publications, or other media should carry the following disclaimer: ‘Whilst every effort has been made to make sure the accuracy of the content of the advertisements contained in this publication, Cornwall Council cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions contained in any of the advertisements provided by an advertiser. Cornwall Council does not accept any liability for any information or claims made by the advertisement or by the advertisers. Any inclusion of Cornwall Council’s name on a publication should not be taken as an endorsement by Cornwall Council’.

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