Introduction and context

Coventry City Council (“the Council”) has a policy on advertising and sponsorship which aims to:

  • Make sure that the Council’s position and reputation is adequately protected and not be brought into disrepute
  • Identify the types of sponsorship, advertising and support that are appropriate
  • Provide clear guidance on the industry categories that are appropriate for achieving the Council’s partnership (sponsorship and advertising) objectives
  • Maximise the opportunities to attract commercial sponsorship and advertising for appropriate events, campaigns or initiatives
  • Maximise the opportunities to attract commercial advertising for appropriate Council owned assets
  • Make sure an appropriate return is generated from advertising and sponsorship opportunities
  • Make sure that a consistent and professional approach is adopted to the development of advertising and sponsorship agreements
  • Protect Councillors and officers from potential allegations of inappropriate dealings or favouritism with sponsors.


Advertising is defined as: An agreement between the Council and the advertiser, where the Council receives either money or a benefit in kind for the advertiser to use Council owned space or publication to promote themselves or a product.

Sponsorship is defined as: A mutually beneficial business relationship between a provider of funds, resources or services and Coventry City Council. The sponsor is provided with rights and association with the Council, across assets such as events; programmes; and venues; in return for the finance, goods and/or services that have been provided by the sponsor.

To sponsor something is to support an event, activity, person, or organization financially or by providing products or services. Sponsorship should not be confused with other types of funding which the Council administers. 

This policy is two-fold, covering:

  1. The Council as an advertiser or sponsor
  2. The Council as an owner of an advertising platform or sponsorship opportunity which an external individual, group or organisation may wish to take up

Advertising and sponsorship of a ‘product’ encompasses goods, services, ideas, cause, opportunities, prizes and gifts.

Advertising and sponsor messages can take a variety of forms and can be viewed via a variety of traditional and new media (e.g. newspapers, magazines, television commercial, radio advertisement, outdoor advertising, direct mail, social media, websites and text messages).

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


Coventry City Council will welcome all opportunities to work with sponsors where such arrangements support its core values.

However, we will not enter into a sponsorship agreement if, in the reasonable opinion of the Council, the agreement:

  • may be perceived as potentially influencing the Council or its officers in carrying out its statutory functions in order to gain favourable terms from the Council on any business or other agreement
  • aligns the Council with any organisation or individual which conflicts with its values and priorities.

The industry categories that are not acceptable for entering into a sponsorship or advertising agreement include:

  • Tobacco/cigarettes
  • Gambling
  • Adult-oriented products/services 
  • Armaments
  • Petrochemical Industry
  • Payday Loans

Furthermore, the Council will not enter into sponsorship or advertising agreements with:

  • Organisations which do not comply with the Council’s advertising and sponsorship policy or the Advertising Standards Authority code of practice
  • Organisations 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 in contract negotiation with the Council where this may be viewed as an endorsement of this bid
  • Organisations with a political purpose, including pressure groups and trade unions
  • Organisations involved in racial or sexual prejudice or discrimination on the basis of disability, faith or gender
  • Organisations through which, in our opinion, their operations are involved in any illegal or immoral activities.
  • An organisation where an agreement will damage the reputation of the Council

The above lists are not exhaustive, and the Council retains the absolute right to decline sponsorship or advertising opportunities (including through third party suppliers) from any organisation or individual or in respect of particular products which the Council in its sole and absolute discretion considers inappropriate. 

In the case of sponsorship, the Council will have the rights of approval on all appropriate sponsorship related activity, such as:

  • Use of the Council IP (trademark and logos), which includes Council owned venues, events, programmes etc.
  • Publicity and promotion of the sponsorship in sponsor’s own advertising, media and marketing materials, including in digital and social media
  • Appropriate sponsor events at Council owned venues

All sponsorship activity and activation programmes will be agreed between the Sponsor and Council prior to implementation. 

There are several types of partnerships that the Council will consider, these are:

  • Cash - A partner who provides a cash fee in exchange for an association and an agreed package of rights and benefits (including advertising rights)
  • Value in Kind (VIK) - A partner who provides its products or services (for free or at a reduced rate) in exchange for an association and an agreed package of rights and benefits.
  • Marketing Support - A partner who provides access and awareness opportunities to an audience through their marketing/media channels e.g. in the form of a promotion of a Council owned asset, such as an event or venue

This document will be reviewed every five years from the date of adoption.

Advertising policy

The Council abides by national guidance published by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) – the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all online and offline media. The central principle of all advertising (marketing communications) is that it should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.

The Council abides by the Town and Country Planning Act. The Control of Advertisement Regulations provides the rules on displaying advertising. The Council has a duty to ensure all advertising on Council owned platforms falls within this legislation and will ensure planning law relating to the display of advertisement is complied with.

The Council will advertise its own services and offers as appropriate using its own platform. This may include adverts relating to traded services or quasi-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 circumstances the Council will comply with the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

The Council encourages advertising on its own platform that supports its strategic vision for Coventry. 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 city.

All applicants wishing to utilise Council owned advertising media must adhere to this policy and the Council’s Terms and Conditions for Advertisers.

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

Sponsorship Policy

Sponsorship is not a way for any company or organisation to be viewed favourably by the Council in any other business arrangements they might be a party to. Any organisation wishing to sponsor a Council owned product or service must adhere to this policy and the Council’s Terms and Conditions for Sponsors.

All sponsorship deals will be subject to a signed legal agreement between the Council and the sponsoring organisation. For smaller projects this might be in the form of the Council’s standard Terms and Conditions for Sponsors; for larger or more complex arrangements, a document may be drawn up relating specifically to that project.

The Council must ensure a return on investment or objectives when it is a sponsor. The appropriate lead officer must consult the Council’s Communications Team before deciding whether the Council should be a sponsor or whether sponsorship of a Council product/service is the best marketing communications method.

Publicity and media coverage will be arranged by the Council, in partnership with the sponsor, for all appropriate sponsorship deals. The use of branding and logos of any sponsoring company must not interfere with the Council’s Corporate Identity Policy or Brand Guidelines. Any use of Coventry Council’s IP must be approved by the Council prior to its use.

The size and positioning of sponsors' logos on any promotional material, goods or signage must be considered by the appropriate lead officer in conjunction with the Council’s Communications and Marketing service.

Procedures and responsibilities

Before agreeing advertising or sponsorship, Council officers will consider the policy document and follow the guidelines provided.

The Council’s Communication Team provides expertise on and is the guardian of the Advertising and Sponsorship Policy. The overall coordination of advertising and sponsorship agreements across the Council will also be the responsibility of the Communications Team (including the Council’s Terms and Condition for Advertisers and Terms and Conditions for Sponsors).

Whether advertising and/or sponsorship is a suitable method and 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 requests. All potential sponsors should be referred to the policy for information and guidance. All sponsorship bids must be approved in consultation with the appropriate Cabinet Member and the relevant service Director.

Sponsorship and advertising agreements must be referred to Legal Services for review, prior to signing.

Further information

For any queries about this policy contact the Council’s Communication Team. Call on telephone number 024 7697 8000 or e-mail:


Acceptance of advertising or sponsorship does not imply endorsement of products and services by Coventry City Council. In order to make this clear all publications, or other media, with advertising or sponsorship 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, Coventry City Council cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions contained in any of the advertisements provided by an advertiser or sponsor. Coventry City Council does not accept any liability for any information or claims made by the advertisement or by the advertisers. Coventry City Council does not endorse or recommend any advertiser or sponsor. Any inclusion of Coventry City Council’s name on a publication should not be taken as an endorsement by Coventry City Council.