Pre-election Guidance For Academics And Universities

We are now in an election period (also called ‘purdah’) and the Cabinet Office has released guidance aimed at upholding the impartiality of the Civil Service. During this time, civil servants are prevented from making public announcements which could be seen as giving an advantage to a political party/candidate until a new government is formed.

The rules impact on what publicly-funded organisations can say, including universities.

During elections, universities are still able to publish and promote academic research and analysis on topical issues relevant to the election and host seminars and discussions on those issues. Universities and Students Unions can also host a debate between candidates or invite them to issue-focused events.
Academics should feel free to provide expert comment on breaking news, present research and share factual information.However, as a politically impartial organisation, the University should not:

  • Advocate for or endorse the views of any individual party or candidate;
  • Explicitly compare the University’s views to those of individual parties or candidates;
  • Donate funds to any individual party or candidate;
  • Allow the University to be cited in a candidate’s manifesto or publicity materials;
  • Only offer opportunities to a single party or limited range of candidates.

If you have any questions about how purdah may affect communicating your work, please contact the PR, Corporate Communications and External Relations Team who can advise.