Pre-election guidance for NHS organisations – Spring 2022

When and where are elections happening?

Elections are scheduled to take place in England on Thursday 5 May 2022. These are:

  • Local council elections
  • Local and Combined Authority Mayoral elections

What is the pre-election period?

This is the period of time immediately before elections or referendums. During this time specific restrictions are placed on the use of public resources and the communication activities of public bodies, civil servants and local government officials. The pre-election period is designed to avoid the actions of public bodies distracting from or having influence on election campaigns. The pre-election period has implications for all NHS organisations, although it is worth remembering that the NHS should remain politically impartial at all times.

When does it start?

The exact start of the pre-election period is determined by when the local authority in question formally declares it. Typically, this will be six weeks before the election. The latest the pre-election period could begin in local areas where there are local elections (i.e. the latest date at which an election can be declared) is Monday 28 March 2022. A summary of advice can be read here.

Key considerations?
We must ensure the CCG is acting and being seen to act impartially towards all candidates and political parties, and not seen to be influencing the election and its outcomes, whether inadvertently or intentionally. During the pre-election period, there should be:

  • no new announcements of policy or strategy
  • no announcements on large and/or contentious procurement contracts
  • no participation by NHS representatives in debates and events that may be politically controversial, whether at national or local level.

These restrictions apply in all cases other than where postponement would be detrimental to the effective running of the local NHS, or wasteful of public money. Communications activities necessary for operational delivery purposes should continue as normal. NHS organisations and staff should continue to adhere to Government restrictions and public health advice to control COVID-19.

For any further advice please do contact the communications team: nclccg.communications@nhs.net