Councils warned about politically sensitive blog posts during purdah

Councils have been warned to be cautious about politically sensitive blog posts as London and other areas of Britain enter into purdah this week.

Cautionary: David Holdstock
Cautionary: David Holdstock

Purdah – otherwise known as the pre-election period – means council comms units need to guard against promoting one politician or party over and above any other.

The period will apply to all London-focused public sector bodies and those elsewhere in the country that have elections – but it does not apply to central government.

Hillingdon Council head of corporate comms David Holdstock said: ‘The thing to remember is that it’s a period of heightened sensitivity, but it doesn’t mean life shuts down.

‘The interesting thing is e-comms. Councils are increasingly using things like blogs, and the same rules apply.’

Holdstock, who will start his new job running the LGA’s comms in April, also warned councils should be cautious if they are asked by politicians to provide photos that were taken using council resources.

Westminster City Council director of comms and strategy Alex Aiken added that the Localism Act gives councils greater powers to communicate innovatively: ‘The business of the council continues and reassuring people that we’re fixing potholes and looking after the vulnerable should continue to be communicated.’

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