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Local elections 2023 guidance for RIBA Members and the pre-election ‘purdah’ period

On Thursday 4 May 2023, voters in England will take to the polls to vote in local elections. Charitable organisations (like RIBA) must take special care to ensure political neutrality.  

29 March 2023

On Thursday 4 May 2023, voters in England will take to the polls to vote in local elections. 

Ahead of the elections, there is a pre-election period also known as 'purdah'. 

For local authorities, the pre-election period begins on Monday 27 March. This means that they must "not publish any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party". 

For UK government, this means from Thursday 13 April that particular care should be taken over official support, and the use of public resources, including publicity, for government announcements that could have a bearing on matters relevant to the elections.  

Overlay of Big Ben clock and the Union Jack flag

What does this mean for RIBA and its representatives?  

Charitable organisations (like the Royal Institute of British Architects) must take special care to ensure political neutrality.   

Election guidance from the UK government’s Charity Commission states:  

“A charity must never indicate to its supporters which candidate to support in an election... and during an election period, the need for impartiality and balance is intensified, and charities must take particular care when undertaking any activities in the political arena.”  

As part of the requirement for us to remain politically neutral, during the pre-election period, RIBA cannot host events for political parties. This includes campaign rallies and visits for local councillors, mayors, and candidates.  

If your private social media account connects you to RIBA (including stating that you represent RIBA in your bio), or you regularly use a social media account (e.g. LinkedIn) for professional RIBA purposes, you should not make statements that give (or could be viewed to give) support to one party over another.   

Further support  

If you have any questions or need any further guidance, get in touch with our Policy and Public Affairs team at  

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