A short guide to publicity during the pre-election period, known as 'purdah'.
Pending further clarifications from central government, we advise councils to follow the general convention set out in the 2014 guidance from the Cabinet Office that particular care should be taken in the three weeks preceding the elections – in this case from 2 May 2019. Please speak to your Returning Officer if you have further questions on how this will affect you locally.
This guidance provides advice on the publicity restrictions that should be observed during the purdah period. It should be read in conjunction with any guidance produced by your own returning officer or monitoring officer, which provides specific advice depending on your local circumstances.
It is important to note that pre-election rules restrict activity wider than just publicity. Use of council facilities and resources; the member’s code of conduct, developing new policies and holding of events - including some meetings - featuring elected officials should all be carefully considered during a period of heightened sensitivity.
The term ‘purdah’ has come into popular use across central and local government to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on communications activity are in place. The terms ‘pre-election period’ and 'heightened sensitivity’ are also used.