National Network of Parent Carer Forums

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Engaging with Parent Carers during the Pre-Election Period (Going into Purdah)

April 20, 2017

During the run up to the last General Election Parent Carer Forums were engaged heavily in the implementation of the Children and Families Act.  Some Parent Carer Forums may have been affected by the few weeks before the election known as “Purdah” (also known as “the period of sensitivity” or “pre-election period”).  As well as the General Election other events such as Local Elections and Referendums are also affected by purdah.

As a result the Cabinet Office publishes guidance to Civil Servants and Local Authorities about how working practices may have an impact on working with arm’s length organisations and others during this period.

One of the purposes of “purdah” is to ensure that there is no opportunity for anyone who is engaged in public activity to be put under any undue influence by Government or Local Authorities including Clinical Commissioning Groups which may have an impact on the way they vote.

In April this year guidance was published for the Local Elections, here is a link: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN05262

There will also be guidance published shortly by the Cabinet Office for the General Election on 8th June 2017.  In all likelihood the purdah period will commence on 22nd April and last until 9th June 2017 (the day after the election).

Over the last two years Parent Carer Forums have become increasingly engaged with their Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups. However this work needs to continue and is linked to existing legislation and local policy which has already been determined.

Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups are likely to have differing views as to what work will be undertaken during the purdah period, however the NNPCF would suggest that if Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups indicate that parent carers should be excluded from normal meetings during purdah this is unreasonable.

Additionally; as a representative group any Parent Carer Forum will need to be mindful how it reports any work it undertakes to its members so that it does not appear to unduly influence them.

You should be aware that some of the activities of NNPCF will be curtailed during Purdah and we will manage this as best we can.  Although Ministers will still be in post, as government still has to function, it is unlikely we will have access to them.  However we will still be engaging with officials and others within the Department for Education and NHS England.

We recommend that you discuss this with your main contacts in your Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups so that any doubts about this in your local areas are addressed swiftly.

The NNPCF Steering Group

Download a copy of this statement here: Engaging with Parent Carers during the Pre-Election Period