2017 General Election: purdah considerations for NHS foundation trusts and trusts

This briefing sets out considerations for NHS foundation trusts and trusts in the period of time known as the pre-election period, or ‘purdah’, leading up to the 2017 UK general election on 8 June. It highlights the practical implications around provider activities, including in relation to sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) (see section 4.5), and communication during purdah.

It also covers the requirements on central and local government, the civil service and arm’s length bodies during purdah to maintain political impartiality in carrying out their public duties and ensuring that public resources are not used for the purposes of political parties or campaign groups.

General election timetable

 22 April   Purdah/pre-election period begins 
 3 May  Parliament dissolves 
 11 May  Registration deadline for parliamentary prospective candidates (PPCs) 
 8 June  General election
 9 June  Purdah ends (if new government formed)

What is purdah?

The term ‘purdah’ is used across central and local governments to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on the activity of civil servants and local government officials, where appropriate, are in place. The term pre-election period is also used synonymously with purdah.

Purdah prevents announcements from and activities by public bodies which could influence or be seen to influence the election. Purdah officially applies until the day following the general election, but effectively applies during any period of negotiation around the formation of a government.

Key principles

Download the full briefing for rules and regulations for NHS foundation trusts and trusts during purdah.


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