Propriety

Like all civil servants, government communicators must carry out their work objectively and without political bias, in accordance with the standards of behaviour set out in the Civil Service Code.

General Election 2019: guidance for civil servants

The Cabinet Office has published General Election 2019: Guidance for Civil Servants. This guidance takes effect from 00:01 on Wednesday 6 November 2019.

This guidance applies to all UK civil servants, and the board members and staff of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) and other arms’ length bodies.

What do we mean by propriety in government communications?

In the specific context of government communications, propriety means presenting the policies and programmes of the government of the day properly and effectively. To achieve this, government communications:

  • Should be relevant to government responsibilities;
  • Should be objective and explanatory, not biased or polemical;
  • Should not be – and not liable to being misrepresented as – party political;
  • Should be conducted in an economic and appropriate way, and should be able to justify the costs as expenditure of public funds.

Propriety guidance

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants.

The Government Communication Propriety Guidance gives more detailed information on how to observe propriety within government communications.

Government Communication Propriety Guidance (PDF, 42 pages 218KB)

You can also check our propriety FAQ and guidance on propriety in digital and social media.

Contact us

If you have any questions about propriety, it is always best to contact your line manager or Director of Communications in the first instance. If you require further clarification or advice, contact the GCS Propriety Team at gcs.propriety@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

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