On Thursday 3rd May 2018, District Council elections are being held in St Albans City & District. OFCOM has very strict rules about the content that we can and cannot broadcast in the lead up to the elections; this is commonly known as 'purdah'. This starts on March 27.
For the avoidance of doubt, observe the following please:
- The Election Period commences on 27 March
- Radio Verulam will not be covering the local elections (we may well cover the outcome - this is a different matter)
- Any regular presenter, guest, or contributor who is standing for election must not appear on Radio Verulam in any capacity from 27 March until after the election. Please do check to make sure any guests you plan to include in programmes are still able to do so.
- It is the responsibilities of presenters to check that anyone who is appearing on their programme is not standing as a candidate in the local elections.
- Presenters, reporters, guests, or other contributors are not permitted to give views, opinions, or thoughts on any candidates, their manifesto, political parties, or any related matter.
- We are not planning to do any debate or discussion programmes before the election. Please do not 'have a go' with any of this in any programmes - they are strictly regulated and controlled. We do not have the ability to properly manage this at the moment.
- Brief any guests, especially on live programmes, that they must not mention the local elections or anything that might be considered to be a political comment or critique.
- In other words, the election is BANNED as a topic of discussion on Radio Verulam, regardless of how minor or insignificant this mention is. DO NOT MENTION IT AT ALL.
- If any guest inadvertently mentions it, please say "We can't talk about that" and move on.
- OFCOM take this matter exceptionally seriously; you can easily find the outcomes of previous investigations, and sanctions, where radio stations have not followed the rules via OFCOM's website.
- We will leave coverage of the local elections to the professional news organisations who are equipped to deal with it properly. I'm sure BBC 3CR will do a fine job.
- Radio Verulam volunteers who break these rules, whether deliberately or by accident, will no longer be able to volunteer with us, but may be required to participate in an OFCOM investigation.