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The case against ‘purdah’ – As we approach the May elections, it may be time to question the conventional wisdom about the ‘period of purdah’. To what extent should it affect consultations?

It’s a pretty inappropriate term, but it seems to have been generally adopted in political circles to mean the ‘curtain of discretion’ behind which we can conceal certain activities that would otherwise influence the public before they exercise their democratic right to vote.

In classic British fudge, it mostly relies, not on law, but on a conventional wisdom that accepts that it is better to avoid some situations in the period immediately before an Election.  The textbooks call it a ‘self-denying ordinance’. This Topic questions whether we have not allowed the practice to be over-interpreted and applied more restrictively than modern conditions require.


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About the Author

Rhion Jones is considered a leading authority on Public Engagement and Consultation. A founding Director of the Consultation Institute, he is co-author of “The Art of Consultation” (2009) and “The Politics of Consultation” (2018). He has delivered over 500 training courses and Masterclasses and is a prolific writer on the subject, having written over 350 different Topic papers and over 50 full Briefing Papers for the Institute. Since 2003 over 15,000 person-days of training based on courses he invented have been delivered. Rhion is in demand as an entertaining Keynote Speaker and Special Adviser, particularly on the Law of Consultation, and its implications for Government and other Public Bodies. In 2017, he was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

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