Is there a DCC election coming up? You bet!

How does Owl know? DCC Highways councillor Stuart Hughes takes a sudden interest in the A3052! Which apparently leads to Sidmouth and on to Seaton … funny, Owl thought it led direct to Lyme Regis … with Sidmouth and Seaton offshoots … B3176 leads to Sidmouth, B3052 to Seaton… or at least they did until today …

Expect more and more of this sort of stuff between now and purdah …

which must start on 27 March 2017:

which states:

Publicity [during purdah] is defined as “any communication, in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or to a section of the public.”

The first question to ask is ‘could a reasonable person conclude that you were spending public money to influence the outcome of the election?’ In other words it must pass the ‘is it reasonable’ test. When making your decision, you should consider the following:

You should not:

• produce publicity on matters which are politically controversial
• make references to individual politicians or groups in press releases
• arrange proactive media or events involving candidates
• issue photographs which include candidates
• supply council photographs or other materials to councillors or political group staff unless you have verified that they will not be used for campaigning purposes
• continue hosting third-party blogs or e-communications
• help with national political visits (as this would involve using public money to support a particular candidate or party). These should be organised by political parties with no cost or resource implications for the council.

You should also think carefully before you:

• Continue to run campaign material to support your own local campaigns. If the campaign is already running and is non-controversial (for example, on issues like recycling or foster care) and would be a waste of public money to cancel or postpone them, then continue. However, you should always think carefully if a campaign could be deemed likely to influence the outcome of the election and you should not use councillors in press releases and events in pre-election periods. In such cases you should stop or defer them. An example might be a campaign on an issue which has been subject of local political debate and/or disagreement.

• Launch any new consultations. Unless it is a statutory duty, don’t start any new consultations or publish report findings from consultation exercises, which could be politically sensitive.”

Just so everyone is clear!