Mark Whitehead 18 April 2019

Purdah and local government

Purdah and local government image

What is purdahh and how can those in local government avoid breaking the rules?

What is 'purdah'? It's the period from the time a public election is called, until it has finished. Also known as the 'pre-election period' or 'period of sensitivity'. For the forthcoming council elections it started on March 26.

What does it cover? It puts restrictions on publicity, defined as 'any communication in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or a section of the public'.

What is its aim? To stop public money being used to promote a political party.

How can I quickly decide if something breaks the rules? The Local Government Association says you should ask: ‘Could a reasonable person conclude that you were spending public money to influence the outcome of the election?'

What can I continue doing? Normal council publicity, as long as it is factual information. You can correct misleading or factually wrong public statements, including in controversial areas, as long as you stick to the facts.

Who can make statements? Better to use relevant paid officials or someone in a politically neutral role rather than politicians.

What should we avoid?

• Producing publicity on matters which are politically controversial
• Naming individual politicians or groups in press releases
• Arranging media or events involving candidates
• Publishing photographs which include candidates
• Supplying council photographs or other materials to councillors or political groups
• Continuing to host third party blogs or other online publications which express political views
• Helping with visits by national politicians – these should be organised by political parties with no cost or resource implications for the council
• Make sure any campaigns already running couldn't be seen as political
• Unless it is a statutory duty, avoid launching any new consultations or publishing the results of a consultation exercise

If you are in any doubt, seek advice from your returning officer and/or monitoring officer, legal or communications colleagues.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Front-End Developer - Learning Platform

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Personal Advisor - Leaving After Care

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Please note this is a fixed term /secondment opportunity until August 2021. (please discuss with your current manager if you are considering a secondm England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Personal Advisor - Homelessness

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Please note this is Fixed Term Contract/secondment opportunity until 31st March 2021. (please discuss with your current manager if you are considering England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Commercial Vehicle Technician

Chelmsford City Council
£30,000 per annum
We are seeking a fully trained HGV technician to work as part of the team who maintain the Council's fleet to the highest standards.  Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Social Worker - Carer Assessment Team (Fostering)

Barnet London Borough Council
£39,040.00 - £49,950.00 Per Annum
In Barnet we value our Social Care staff and we know that our biggest and most important resource are its workforce. Colindale, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue