You are a political consultant and your partner is a senior civil servant at the Department for Transport. One of your clients is a train operator that is interested in the impending publication of the government’s rail policy. In answer to your questions, your partner tells you in strict confidence that publication will be delayed due to internal disagreements.

Intelligence gathering constitutes an inherent part of a political practitioner’s job and this scenario does not technically concern a publication by an institution of government.    However, APPC requires members to adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the Code.  In this case, the consultant failed to be transparent about why she was asking such questions and should keep the information to herself, though it could be acceptable to advise her client on future strategy on the basis of the facts of the conversation.

Clause 13 of the APPC Code of Conduct states

Political practitioners must abide by the rules and conventions for the obtaining, distribution and release of documents published by institutions of government