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Civil Servants (Party Political Activity)

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are the rules relating to (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers participating in party political activity. [37999]

The rules on civil servants' political activities are set out in chapter 4 of the personnel management part of the civil service management code, a copy of which is in the Library.Special advisers are bound generally by the rules applicable to civil servants, with specific exemptions. They may, with the approval of their Minister, attend party functions, maintain contact with party members and take part in policy reviews conducted by their party. They may accompany, act for, or speak for their Minister in situations where the Minister can be seen to be acting in his or her capacity as a member of the Government. In other circumstances, including those where their Minister is taking part in party political activities, it may be appropriate for a special adviser to accompany the Minster, to provide liaison with their Department, and advise on any departmental business that may arise.Special advisers may assist with other internal party political matters, such as a leadership campaign, if they do so while on leave, or at times which do not interfere with their normal duties—for example out of office hours. In addition, and provided that they have the approval of their Ministers, special advisers are allowed to take part in all forms of local political activity, apart from local activities in support of national political activities.