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USI staff, resources and elections

USI staff are non-political and have no role in influencing the democratic systems of USI outside directions given to them by the Chair of Steering and Elections Committee and the Chair of Elections Subcommittee of the Steering and Elections Committee.

It is important for USI members to understand that the resources of incumbency of an officer should neither be an an impediment to nor an advantage to a person seeking election. To this end, USI has adopted an approach called ‘purdah’, which is adopted from the UK election tradition.

USI Staff are tasked by and accountable and answerable to the USI General Manager, who in turn is tasked by and accountable and answerable to the President and the Chair of Finance Committee.

In order to ensure staff and USI financial resources are directed solely to furthering the policies and priorities of USI, and to ensure that all candidates in elections understand and appreciate the electoral neutrality of USI staff, two periods of increasingly strict purdah will be applied.

The following rules will come into effect immediately:

  1. From 16/01/2015 until the date of close of nominations all expenses claims for all USI officers will be scrutinised to ensure that no expenses are paid where the purpose of a visit or expenditure is, or could be construed to be electioneering or gathering of nominations
  2. All press releases to be processed by USI staff must first be approved by the President

The following rules will come into effect on the date of close of nominations:

  1. A strict purdah will be applied to all announcements, releases and events. All announcements, releases and events will be referred to the President who will allocate staff tasking on communications strictly according to the principles of political neutrality
  2. Staff will take extra care to ensure that none of their interactions with officers could be construed as offering support or agreement with a candidate.
  3. Guidance for staff will be given by the General Manager.
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