Purdah is the period between the announcement of an election and the election date. With elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England on 5 May 2011, purdah restrictions will come into play and affect communication activity across the UK.
During purdah, central Government departments and delivery bodies funded by central Government must take extra care over material they put into the public domain in order to avoid any activity, which could call into question the body’s political impartiality.
When does Purdah start?
In England, because the only elections taking place are local council elections – which cannot lead to a change of government – a 3 week purdah period will take place, affecting local government communications in the areas of those local authorities where elections are taking place from Thursday 14 April to Thursday 5 May inclusive.
This means that there should be no news on the JCS until after the election as we enter a 6-week period from the adoption of the JCS on the 22nd March 2011 whereby any legal challenge can be mounted. So what happens if there is a big enough change of councillors and the support for the JCS disappears with a change in majority or indeed if there is a hung council? Can the decision about the JCS be overturned? Interesting times ahead