You might wonder what happens to the Civil Service now that an election has been called. Well Civil Servants enter a period called Purdah where they are not really allowed to do anything in case it is seen to favour one party or another, or turns out to be contrary to what the Government to be decides is sensible policy.
They actually have a 51 page instruction manual on how to conduct themselves during Purdah.
Films, videos and photographs from departmental libraries or sources should not be made available for use by political Parties. Tools for sharing videos and photographs, such as Flikr (not my spelling) and YouTube should not be updated with new content.
New websites should not be launched without prior approval from the Permanent Secretary Government Communications, in consultation with Propriety and Ethics Team, Cabinet Office.
Social networking sites
Civil servants’ participation in a professional capacity in social networks (e.g. (Facebook, Bebo*, LinkedIn etc.) as well as in forums, online communities and other public online discussions should be limited during the Election period to:
– commenting on operational matters relating to services such as notifying users of technical problems with a website or digital service.
– responding to factual queries by signposting existing content. Any exceptions to this guidance should be referred to the Permanent Secretary, Government Communications who will consider individual cases in consultation with the Propriety and Ethics team in the Cabinet Office.
Blogs and video blogs
There should be no new public facing or ministerial blogs during the election period. Civil Servants may continue to respond to comments on existing blog posts to provide routine and factual responses to queries and to moderate for inappropriate comments.
Who’d be a Civil Servant eh? Though the four weeks off might be attractive to some… Interesting to see how the internet is pervading everywhere.
* Pat Phelan tells me that Bebo is to close so that might not be such a worry 🙂