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Pre-election period

7 June 2024

During the weeks running up to the general election, from 4 June 2024, there are some guidelines we need to follow by law.

As a general rule these restrictions do not affect the vast majority of employees and it is business as usual in almost all areas of our work.

If, as part of your job, you organise publicity, events, public consultations or you manage one of our social media accounts you should familiarise yourself with the pre-election rules which apply to councils:

  • from the start of the pre-election period (4 June 2024) we should take particular care with publicity. Publicity is defined as “any communication, in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or to a section of the public”
  • generally, we should “not publish any material which, in whole, or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.” We 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which seeks to influence voters and that publicity relating to individuals involved directly in the election should not be published unless expressly authorised by statute
  • 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 our normal business, including the approval of planning decisions
  • however, we will have to think carefully before it runs any local campaigns. If a campaign could be deemed likely to influence the outcome of the election, it will need to be deferred
  • in addition, we will have to think carefully before it launches any new consultations. Unless it is a statutory duty or considered our normal business, such as budget consultations, it is recommended that we avoid starting any new consultations or publishing report findings from consultation exercises, which could be politically sensitive
  • we can still issue media releases on factual matters provided that these do not identify individual councillors or groups of councillors

Employees must not:

  • produce publicity on matters which are politically controversial
  • make references to individual candidates or parties in press releases or on our social media channels
  • arrange proactive media or events involving candidates
  • issue photographs which include candidates
  • supply council photographs or other documentation or materials unless it has been verified that they will not be used for campaigning purposes
  • assist with an election campaign in any way
  • help with national political visits (as this would involve using public money to support a particular candidate or party). These should be organised by political parties with no cost or resource implications for us
  • display any campaign material on council property or allow candidates to use council premises for campaign purposes

Responding to MP enquiries during the pre-election period

Once Parliament is dissolved, a Member of Parliament ceases to be an MP. Their constitutional right to represent their constituents’ grievances to the council disappears. They are therefore either a former MP (who is not standing for re-election) or a candidate like all other candidates. As a result, responses to outstanding MP enquiries must not be sent to the MPs former official email address.

Contact should be made direct with the constituent to confirm their former MP made an enquiry on their behalf and ask them whether they wish the response to be sent direct to them now.

If you need further advice please contact

More information about publicity during the pre-election period can be found on the LGA website.