Eight weeks today we’ll have awoken to the results of the 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election. Personally, I’m hopeful that I’ll have had at least a few hours sleep having declared the results for the Aberdeen North and Aberdeen South polls at some point in the early hours of Friday 8th May.
In my dual role as Chief Executive and Returning Officer I’ve today provided a guidance document to the Extended Corporate Management Team on how we should handle the pre-election period which begins at the Dissolution of Parliament on Monday 30th March. I’ve asked that the advice be shared with all appropriate officers and I’ve also copied it to all elected members for their information.
The document runs to 16 pages but the key points we should all bear in mind are:
- Council staff must by law act in a politically neutral way at all times.
- There is particular sensitivity around this political neutrality in the run-up to an election.
- Particular care needs to be taken to ensure that any events, publicity or other communications are politically neutral during a pre-election period.
- Council facilities and resources must not be used in support of a political party or election candidate.
- Unless otherwise stated, it should be assumed that normal Council business will continue; and
- Unless otherwise covered by the guidance or in the view of a particular Service in relation to a particular query, staff will most likely respond positively to requests for information or advice from parties or candidates.
Colleagues in the Office of Chief Executive are available to assist with any particular queries you may have – firstname.lastname@example.org