Guidelines and restrictions on decision making and publicity during the pre-election period:
"As you will be aware, local borough and parish elections are due to take place on Thursday 2 May so I thought it would be useful to remind you about the guidelines and restrictions on publicity during the pre-election period, known as purdah, which will start on Wednesday 13 March.
From the start of purdah, the council must comply with restrictions outlined in Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986. In addition a Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity published in 2011 makes clear that particular care should be taken in periods of heightened sensitivity, such as in the run up to an election. The Act defines publicity as “any communication, in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or to a section of the public.”
Generally, the Act says that we should “not publish any material which, in whole, or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.” The Code of Practice recommends that authorities should generally not issue any publicity which seeks to influence voters and that publicity relating to individuals involved directly in the election should not be published unless expressly authorised by statute.
For publicity in relation to decision making within the council, the position remains that it is ‘business as usual’, unless there are very good reasons why this should not be the case. In the vast majority of cases, the pre-election period will have no impact on normal council business, including the approval of planning decisions.
What this means:
• The primary restriction is on proactive publicity by the council, which particularly relates to candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election
• The council can still issue media releases on factual matters provided that these do not identify individual councillors or groups of councillors
• The position of Borough Mayor is different and civic material can be issued, provided that it is not of a political nature.
• Councillors are still free to respond to enquiries received from the media in a personal capacity
• Individual councillors can issue their own statements, write letters to the local newspaper(s) for publication, contact the media directly or say what they like in a personal capacity, but must not use council resources to do so
It is still possible for the council to issue statements on behalf of a councillor holding a key political or civic position provided that it relates to important events that are outside of the council’s control and can be shown to justify a member response e.g. an emergency situation. These occasions are likely to be rare and the exception, rather than the rule."
Information is also available at www.local.gov.uk/our-support/purdah
Erm, Why is local Purrrrrdaaaah set on the 13th & not the 26th? Or for that matter the Equinox ...
"Boundary changes ... Candidates standing for election, including current councillors seeking re-election, are not entitled to obtain a copy of the Register of Electors until the Notice of Election is published ... the earlier the Notice of Election is issued and Purdah starts, the sooner candidates can get a copy of the Register of Electors... The date is the same/very similar to neighbouring authorities and where possible we align ourselves with other authorities so that there are not too many dates flying around ..."
One for the Monologue ;-)