LGA clarifies guidance on pre-election publicity
The Local Government Association (LGA) has clarified its position on the commencement of Purdah ahead of the general election in June, following the publication of its guidance (http://www.local.gov.uk/purdah-short-guide-publicity-during-pre-election-period) yesterday (20th April).
The LGA has confirmed that Purdah begins tomorrow for the civil service, but does not come into effect for all of local government. Instead, it said, that those authorities that do not have local elections this year (mostly councils in London) should commence a period of "heightened sensitivity" as set out in the local government code governing publicity.
The LGA advised that extra care should be taken when undertaking anything which could directly, or be perceived to, affect support for a party or candidate and urge officers to seek advice from their MO at all times. The LGA also stressed that pre-election activity can also include such things as use of council facilities, resources, codes of conduct, developing new or controversial policies and holding events (including some meetings) featuring candidates. The full recommended code of practice can be downloaded at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recommended-code-of-practice-for-local-authority-publicity.