Current Students and Staff

// University News

Guidance for upcoming General Election

The upcoming General Election will be an exciting time and throw up many interesting policy debates.

As experts in their respective fields, researcher colleagues will no doubt want to actively participate in these discussions. While researchers are able to use their expertise to help inform debate, universities more broadly must be aware of election and charity law to ensure their activity does not compromise their political impartiality.

The guidance is not overly stringent, and participation in what is an important time for the country is encouraged.

Published guidance by Universities UK offers some examples of activities which universities and researchers can participate in:

  • Campaign on and support issues that you have spoken about before.
  • Host debates between candidates.
  • Speak to candidates about their views on certain issues.
  • Promote and publish research on topical issues that will help inform public debate or as part of usual academic activities.

Essentially, in almost all occasions you are able to act as you would normally do.

However, the key rule for universities (and their staff operating in their work capacity) is to not take political sides – whether that be for a party, candidate, or policy. You are, of course, welcome to campaign and be party political in your personal capacity.

The pre-election period, previously known as ‘purdah’ – usually 25 working days before polling day - refers to restrictions for civil and public servants and public bodies, and not for universities (where they are not themselves public bodies). It does, however, mean that some announcements impacting universities which might normally be expected in the weeks ahead of an election cannot happen until after the election period. If you work with or have a funded research project by UKRI – the non-departmental public body of the Government that directs research and innovation funding - your work may be subject to the pre-election period. Guidance will be published by UKRI in due course.  

If you have any questions, please contact the Policy Unit on who will be able to advise.

Read the full guidance published by Universities UK.