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Liberal Democrats

Guidance for Local Parties

LPOs need to be aware of the following rules:

Impartiality of Staff & Office Holders 

We have been in previous elections asked to provide further clarification on election regulation 8 & 9 of the rules: 

  1. Federal Party employees shall maintain strict neutrality from the opening date for declaration of candidacy. It is recommended that employees of state parties, SAOs, AOs and any other relevant employing bodies shall also maintain such neutrality. 
  2. Party Officers, acting in their capacity as officers at federal, state, regional and local level, are expected, as far as possible, to give equal opportunities and fair balance to all candidates. 

In approaching any complaint alleging a breach of regulation 8 or 9 the Returning Officer or the Acting Returning Officer would adopt the following principles: 

  • That the rule only comes into force at the close of nominations when all candidates are known. However candidates who declared prior to this point would be expected to exercise a reasonable degree of anticipation when booking events between the close of nominations (9th July 2020) and the close of the ballot (26th August 2020). They should also advise those organising the meeting that they may not be able to attend if it clashes with an official hustings meeting.
  • That if an officer of the party acting at any level does invite a candidate to anything, then the requirement for balance requires an invitation to the same or a similar event to go to all other nominated candidates. It does not require the acceptance of all candidates for such an event to go ahead but any written promotional material must clearly be demonstrably balanced between all candidates. 

That for the purposes of this rule AGM's and SGM's of Local Parties would be viewed as meetings organised in an official capacity and subject to regulation 9.

Data Protection Issues

The membership database sections containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of members will now be available directly to candidates. 

E-mail addresses will not be made available as official e-mail communications will be facilitated by Lib Dem HQ. 

This membership data will not be supplied until the Candidate and Election Agent has signed a data protection agreement that requires them to undertake to process the party’s data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and abide by the party’s data protection policies under article 3 of the Federal Party Constitution. 

All party officers are required to give equal treatment to all candidates, so, for example, local membership records must not be used to e-mail or post out any messages promoting one candidate. It is an offence under the Data Protection Act for any campaign to receive such lists as well as for any Party Officer to pass them on to the campaigns. Candidates are advised that we have a number of members who will take legal action to uphold these principles.

It is also a clear breach of the leadership election rules that may lead to disqualification. 

It is open to all candidates to build supporter databases themselves, for example via their own web sites. If candidates choose to gather and use data in this way they are advised that they will need to register personally under the Data Protection Act 2018 and also the Privacy in Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). Candidates are reminded that they should have appropriate fair processing notices and privacy policies in place for such data collection. 





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