Trusted local news media titles such as the Exmouth Journal sit right at the heart of local life.
Our journalists hold authority to account on your behalf, covering the courts and council meetings so you know what’s going on in your local area.
And we champion your interests through campaigning and appeals which deliver real results for local communities.
An important but less talked about part of our offering is public notices.
These are advertisements, placed in the main by local authorities, which tell you about things such as planning applications or changes to traffic regulations in your area.
If a local bar wants to extend its opening hours, you’ll find out about it through a public notice in the pages of your local newspaper.
Sometimes, public notices can generate controversy and get everyone in the community talking about an issue which will affect their lives, such as plans for a large new development.
That’s just as it should be in a healthy democracy.
Two years ago, the local news media sector came together through industry trade body the News Media Association to discuss how to give public notices a boost.
Local journalism is reaching more people than ever before, currently 42 million people a month, but much of that audience is now online.
The challenge for the industry was to bring public notices into the 21st century by harnessing local media’s large and increasing digital audiences while ensuring everyone can still access them in their printed local newspaper.
Today, we are delighted to introduce the result of that work – the Public Notice Portal (PNP), which will transform the way readers interact with public notices.
The new portal has been built following extensive consumer research, discussions with local authorities and central government.
The project has also benefitted from technical expertise and £1 million funding from Google.
Fully searchable by postcode and type of notice, the portal uses maps to show you exactly where notices that affect you are located with pinpoint accuracy.
Users can sign up to receive notifications about particular types of notices, or notices relating to a specific geography, providing a highly personalised service.
The portal is completely free to use and is part of your local news media website in addition to operating as a standalone resource.
Although all the main publishers in NMA membership are signed up to the scheme, the portal is still in beta phase and has not yet been rolled out across the whole industry.
Instead, it is being tested in key areas such as Exmouth before the full launch.
We expect the portal will in time provide comprehensive coverage of all the public notices being published in the UK, right across the industry’s 800 local news websites.
That will create an enormously powerful new resource for us all to tap into.
During the beta phase of the project, you have the opportunity to have your say about this transformative technology.
Visit the portal publicnoticeportal.uk/exmouth-journal, see what you think, and then tell us about your experience.
The local news media sector is committed to strengthening and enhancing local democracy in whatever way it can.
We believe that the Public Notice Portal is a critically important part of that mission and will deliver a powerful boost for local communities right across the UK.