Social Media Policy

This is a guide for members on using social media channels of Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel to promote the work of the charity.

This policy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, at least once a year. Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel will amend this policy, following consultation, where appropriate.


What is social media?

Social media is the term given to web-based tools and applications which enable users to create and share content (words, images and video content), and network with each other through the sharing of information, opinions, knowledge and common interests. Examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Why do we use social media?

Social media is essential to the success of communicating Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s work. It is important for some members to participate in social media to engage with our audience, participate in relevant conversations and raise the profile of Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s work.

Why do we need a social media policy?

While we encourage the use of social media, we have certain standards, outlined in this policy, which we require all members with charity social media access to observe. Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary in the public domain. Before engaging in charity-related social media activity, members must read this policy.

Setting out the social media policy

This policy sets out guidelines on how social media should be used to support the promotion of Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel, and the use of social media by members in a professional capacity. It sets out what you need to be aware of when interacting in these spaces and is designed to help members support and expand our official social media channels, while protecting the charity and its reputation and preventing any legal issues.

Point(s) of contact for social media

Our social media members are responsible for the day-to-day publishing, monitoring and management of our social media channels. If you have specific questions about any aspect of these channels, speak to the trustees. Only approved members can post content on Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s official channels.

Which social media channels do we use?

Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel uses the following social media channels:
Facebook :
Instagram :
Twitter/X :
Youtube :

We use our Facebook and Instagram accounts to share news with supporters and to promote active travel.
We use our Twitter account to promote discussion around active travel.
We use our Youtube account to promote active travel.


Using Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media channels — appropriate conduct is as follows

  1. Who can post. Trustees alone are responsible for setting up and for providing access for members (hereto referred to as social media members to Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media channels. This provides consistent messaging through established channels.
  2. Branding. All posts should be representative of our brand. Social media members should ensure they reflect Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel values in what they post and use our tone of voice in any postings. Our brand guidelines set out our tone of voice that all members should refer to when posting content on Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media channels.
  3. Purpose of posts. All social media content should have a purpose and a benefit for Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel, and accurately reflect Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s agreed position.
  4. Add value. Bring value to our audience(s). Answer their questions, help and engage with them. As a general rule don’t get involved in debates / discussions.
  5. Quality. Take care with the presentation of content. Make sure that there are no typos, misspellings or grammatical errors. Also check the quality of images. Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.
  6. Subject of posts. Don’t post content about supporters or service users without their express permission. If sharing information about supporters, service users or third party organisations, this content should be clearly labelled so our audiences know it has not come directly from Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel. If using interviews, videos or photos that clearly identify a child or young person, social media members must ensure they have the consent of a parent or guardian before using them on social media.
  7. Accuracy. Social media members should not automatically assume that material is accurate and should take reasonable steps where necessary to seek verification, for example, by checking data/statistics and being wary of photo manipulation.
  8. Honesty and transparency. Be honest in all posts. Say what you know to be true or have a good source for. If you’ve made a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it.
  9. Personal opinions. Refrain from offering personal opinions via Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media accounts, either directly by commenting or indirectly by ‘liking’, ‘sharing’ or ‘retweeting’. If you are in doubt about Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s position on a particular issue, please speak to trustees.
  10. Safety. It is vital that Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel does not encourage others to risk their personal safety or that of others, to gather materials. For example, a video of a stunt. Additionally posts should not encourage people to break the law to supply material for social media, such as using unauthorised video footage. All relevant rights for usage must be obtained before publishing material.
  11. Politics. Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel is not a political organisation and does not hold a view on party politics or have any affiliation with or links to political parties. We have every right to express views on policy, including the policies of parties, but we can’t tell people how to vote.
  12. Complaints / reputation harm. If a complaint is made on Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media channels, social media members should seek advice from trustees before responding. Sometimes issues can arise on social media which can escalate into a crisis situation because they are sensitive or risk serious damage to the charity’s reputation. The nature of social media means that complaints are visible and can escalate quickly. Not acting can be detrimental to the charity.
  13. Monitoring. Social media members should regularly monitor our social media spaces for mentions of Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel so we can catch any issues or problems early. If there is an issue that could develop or has already developed into a crisis situation, trustees should be notified. If any members outside of the social media group become aware of any comments online that they think have the potential to escalate into a crisis, whether on Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media channels or elsewhere, they should contact trustees immediately.
  14. Content. Where possible aim to include 1 or 2 photos per post; photos should observe safeguarding rules. Include hashtags as appropriate. Make posts as positive as possible. Include an action message to provoke engagement.
  15. Frequency of posting. Do not post more than 2 posts per day on any social media platform. Posting less frequently than every 2 weeks can lose engagement.

Further Information


Libel is when a false written statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation is published online or in print. No social media members posting content on the charity’s social media should bring Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel into disrepute by making defamatory comments about individuals or other organisations or groups.

Copyright law

It is critical that all social media members abide by the laws governing copyright, under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Never use or adapt someone else’s images or written content without permission. Failing to acknowledge the source/author/resource citation, where permission has been given to reproduce content, is also considered a breach of copyright.


Any communications that social media members make in a personal capacity must not breach confidentiality. For example, information meant for internal use only or information that Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel is not ready to disclose yet. For example, a news story that is embargoed for a particular date.

Discrimination and harassment

Social media members should not post content that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of, any individual, on an official Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel social media channel. For example:

  • making offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief
  • using social media to bully another individual
  • posting images that are discriminatory or offensive or links to such content

Lobbying Act

Charities are legally allowed to campaign to bring about a change in policy or law to further their organisational purpose. In most cases, spending on charity campaigns that are in accordance with charity law will not be regulated under electoral law. However, the Lobbying Act, which was passed in January 2014, states that during national elections (known as regulated periods) spending on campaigning activities may be regulated. Charities which spend more than £20,000 in England or £10,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, during the regulated period, need to register with the Electoral Commission. To abide by the Lobbying Act, campaigning activities on social media must not be seen as intending to influence people’s voting choice. During these periods, all campaigning activity will be reviewed by the trustees

Protection and intervention

The responsibility for measures of protection and intervention lies first with the social networking site itself. Different social networking sites offer different models of interventions in different areas. For more information, refer to the guidance available on the social networking site itself, for example, Facebook. However, if a member considers that a person/people is/are at risk of harm, they should report this to the trustees and/or other authorities immediately.

Under 18s and vulnerable people

Young and vulnerable people face risks when using social networking sites. They may be at risk of being bullied, publishing sensitive and personal information on their profiles, or from becoming targets for online grooming. Where known, when communicating with young people under 18-years-old via social media, members should ensure the online relationship with Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel follows the same rules as the offline ‘real-life’ relationship. Members should ensure that young people have been made aware of the risks of communicating and sharing information online, and given guidance on security/privacy settings as necessary. Members should also ensure that the site itself is suitable for the young person and Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel content and other content is appropriate for them.

Responsibilities and reach of policy

Everyone is responsible for their own compliance with this policy. Participation in social media on behalf of Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel is not a right but an opportunity, so it must be treated seriously and with respect. Members who are unsure about whether something they propose to do on social media might breach this policy, should seek advice from the trustees.

Public Interest Disclosure
Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, if a member releases information through Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s social media channels that is considered to be in the interest of the public, Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel‘s [policy name i.e. Whistleblowing Policy] must be initiated before any further action is taken.

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