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.

Mission possible image

Mission possible

Jonathan Sharp explores how digital transformation is changing the face of local government.
Highways jobs

Housing Manager

Breckland District Council
£44,697-£50,879 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen in our Housing team Dereham, Norfolk
Recuriter: Breckland District Council

Inspector / Senior Inspector

City of Bradford MDC
£21,166 - £31,371 pa
This is an opportunity to join the Highway Maintenance team who have responsibility for maintenance of around 2,000km of adopted road network. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Traffic Management Operative/Foreman

Balfour Beatty
Competitive
Are you a Traffic Management Operative/Foreman with Highspeed (12AB) Qualifications, looking for a new and exciting opportunity? If so read on..... Leatherhead, Surrey
Recuriter: Balfour Beatty

Cleaning Assistant

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 2 - £17,367, pro rata for part time positions
It's exciting times at Riverside Leisure Centre with a brand-new centre opening in June 2019 and we need you to get on board and help us make this ... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Commissioning Service Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£24462 - £25809
We are looking for an ambitious and enthusiastic person who wants to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in the borough. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The March issue of Local Government News explores alternative funding channels that are available to councils beyond the Public Works Loan Board, what hurdles merging councils face in coming together, and how local government is handling GDPR.

This issue also has a special highways and street lighting section exploring how councils can use lighting to embark on their smart city journey and using IoT technology to weather the storm.

Register for your free magazine