Public Notice Portal Hits One Million Pageviews Milestone

The local news media industry’s Public Notice Portal has hit the milestone of one million pageviews.

Designed to enhance local media’s coverage of public notices in print, the portal was officially launched in May this year and has seen steady growth in traffic as users seek out important information about planning, construction, transport links, roadworks, and licensing changes in their local area.

The portal has been developed by the local news media industry – including Reach plc which built the website – with £1 million from the Google News Initiative.

The site is backed by local publishers in membership of the News Media Association and now displays nearly 14,000 live notices at any given time, with publishers uploading notices from printed local newspapers to the website on a daily basis.

The portal hit the one million pageviews milestone on Wednesday (8 November). The rate of growth of registered users is also increasing rapidly, growing by more than 40 per cent in the last three months alone.

Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker said: “The Public Notice Portal is a brilliant example of the local news media sector coming together to deliver a truly innovative new product which will create real benefit for the public.

“Local news media now reaches 42 million people a month across print and digital. The portal taps into local media’s growing online audiences to ensure public notices reach as many people as possible, strengthening local democratic engagement.”

Public notices are surfaced on the main pages of local news websites, with the portal fully searchable by postcode and type of notice. In addition to operating as a standalone site, the portal delivers notifications for users who have signed up to receive alerts about particular types of notices, or notices relating to a specific geographic area.

The government has described the portal as a “welcome innovation” from the local news media sector and pledged to keep public notices in printed local newspapers saying that they “still play a role in providing transparent and trusted information to local communities about local government decision making.”

Research from BVA BDRC shows that changing the requirement for local authorities to place public notices in printed local newspapers would see 10 million people, many of whom are in vulnerable or elderly groups, cut off from viewing the notices, creating a serious democratic deficit.