The Cabinet Office has released updated guidance for civil servants on purdah, which advises the following in relation to NHS premises:
"In the case of NHS property, decisions are for the relevant NHS Trust but should visits be permitted to, for example, hospitals, the Department of Health and Social Care advise that there should be no disruption to services and the same facilities should be offered to other candidates. In any case, it is advised that election meetings should not be permitted on NHS premises."
Purdah, and the above guidance, is not a rule of law, and it does not override obligations to comply with statutory or other legal duties. Accordingly, organisations should, for instance, continue to respond to FOI requests within the statutory timescales.
However, it is a period of sensitivity. New public consultations should not routinely be launched within the purdah period, but existing consultations can continue as normal but should not 'compete for the public's attention'. Where possible the window for consultation should be extended.
For advice on public or information law issues associated with the election period, let us know.