Advertising guidance

Generating income through advertising helps protect funding for the vital council services we deliver to our residents.

Southampton City Council is seeking to manage opportunities from advertising, and permits advertising:

  • In its publications
  • On its Stay Connected emails
  • On its website
  • On outdoor mediums such as roundabouts, welcome signs and lamp column banners

This webpage provides guidelines as to the type of advertising that may be permitted, however, any final decisions to approve, refuse or remove an advertisement will be considered on a case by case basis.

General principles

Southampton City Council reserves the right to remove or refuse to promote any individual advertisement, which, in the opinion of the council, is considered inappropriate, may be deemed to bring the council or its aims, objectives or priorities into disrepute or which promote values contrary to those of the council.

Any advertising must comply with all relevant regulations and must not conflict with council's stated aims and priorities as set out in the Council Strategy. It is the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure their advert complies with all codes of practice issued by the Advertising Standards Authority and all other relevant codes of practice including the Code of Advertising Practice.

In accordance with the Advertising Standards Authority's Code any advertising supported by Southampton City Council:

  • Must be legal, decent, honest and truthful
  • Must not bring advertising into disrepute, in addition must not bring the council or its partners into disrepute
  • Must conform to the Code
  • Must respect the principles of fair competition
  • Advertising will also be subject to the Code of Practice on Local Government Publicity and where applicable the requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority

Southampton City Council recognises the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which seeks to protect consumers from unfair, misleading or aggressive marketing practices, and the council requires all advertisers to strongly comply with not only the letter but also the spirit of these regulations.

The appearance of an advertisement on the council's Stay Connected email alerts or any other medium, is not an endorsement by the council of that company, product or service.

Nor does the council:

  • Guarantee the financial status of any business
  • Accept any liability for any goods or services provided by any business
  • Guarantee the quality or condition of any goods or services provided by any business
  • Guarantee that the price of goods and services supplied is competitive relative to any other business

Advertising which is not permitted

Southampton City Council will not accept advertising from political or religious organisations. The council actively encourages the engagement of citizens and community groups in policy setting and other democratic processes, but it does not encourage and will generally not permit advertising from what might broadly be considered lobbying or campaigning groups. This applies to lobby groups which may be very local and temporary in nature, or national or international and more permanent.

Equally, it would not be appropriate to display advertising which in some way touches on political or socially contentious issues or which contain messages which could be regarded as contentious or discriminatory. The council reserves the right to decide whether an issue is or is not contentious and if the advertising may or may not be displayed.

Any content or advertising which has an overtly sexual 'tone', which features partial or complete nudity or which appears to promote or give undue publicity to illegal or inappropriate behaviour or lifestyles will also be refused. The council reserves the right to determine what behaviour it considers inappropriate.

Advertisements that the council considers mocking of groups of citizens or that contains innuendo or subtext which could cause offence will not be accepted, regardless of tone.

The council reserves the right to refuse any advertisement which it deems inappropriate without explanation and reserves the right to remove any advertisement immediately, if necessary.

Specific products, services or organisations which may not advertise or be advertised

As noted above, the council reserves the right to decide whether particular advertising may or may not be displayed on a case by case basis. However, as a broad guide the following products, services or organisations may not be advertised:

  • Political organisations or those that appear to be designed to affect support for a political party or purpose
  • Lobby groups
  • Religious organisations or those that appear to be designed to affect support for a religious purpose
  • Those associated with ‘adult’ industries
  • Adverts which promote the sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco, or other products deemed significantly harmful to health and/or communities
  • Payday lenders
  • Gambling or betting services
  • Organisations providing care and support services
  • Companies who provide services that are deemed to be in competition or have a conflict of interest with services provided by the council or our commissioned partners or subsidiary organisations.

And anything else Southampton City Council deems inappropriate.

Advertising at our Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC)

In addition to the restrictions above, the following services and products are considered to be conflicts of interest with services provided at our HWRC and will not be permitted to advertise at that site:

  • Metal recycling
  • Paper and cardboard recycling
  • Textile recycling
  • Car battery recycling
  • Bric-a-brac
  • Electrical and electronic equipment for re-use
  • Scrap metal yards
  • Charities
  • House clearance services
  • Used or antique shops
  • Small electrical shops
  • Free-ad advertising