A COUNCIL has come under fire for video interviews it has published with its cabinet members.

Labour controlled Caerphilly County Borough Council has published an interview with its leader Philippa Marsden on its social media channels but an independent councillor has questioned the timing with local government elections to be held next year.

Councillor Nigel Dix, who represents Blackwood, criticised the “Get to know your cabinet” video series.

Cllr Dix believes the video is a “gross misuse of CCBC’s webpage for political gain”, due to the fact elections are set to be held in May 2 next year.

A video, released on Friday October 15, includes council leade, Philippa Marsden, being interviewed by a council press officer.

During the near five minute video, which can be seen below, the Labour group leader is asked about her role, experience and personal journey during the video.

 

Cllr Dix said: “The video was made and produced by the council, the interviewer was a paid council employee. I feel that this is a gross misuse of public funds for political gain ahead of next year's local elections, which puts opposition councillors at a severe disadvantage.”

Cllr Dix said he does not see a problem with the videos if all councillors are offered the opportunity to take part in one.

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The Welsh Local Government Association said that a council will often use its platform to educate the public on the roles of councillors.

The WLGA said: “This is a legitimate approach to communicating and engaging with the public, explaining or promoting council decisions, initiatives, policies or services and the wider work of the council.

“Councils do need to be particularly sensitive in the run-up to the elections, and their arrangements around publicity tend to be reviewed during the pre-election period which begins on the day the notice of the poll is published – which is likely to be around March 2022.”

Caerphilly County Borough Council has defended its decision to produce the videos.

A spokesman for the council said: “The video is the first in a planned series of similar clips aimed at profiling the roles of key leadership figures within the council.

“Unfortunately, elected members at this level are often subject to abuse and threats – and this has been brought into sharp focus following recent tragic events.

“We want residents to get to know the real people behind the official title and gain an insight into their lives and their role. It is important to stress that these videos are completely non-political.”

Cllr Dix has contacted the Monitoring Officer at the council but is yet to receive a response.

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