To: Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Allow fortnightly council newspaper publications
Stop Sajid Javid from reinforcing the National Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity when there are clear benefits of publishing a council newspaper fortnightly to the council or residents .
Why is this important?
The Government has instructed councils to stop fortnightly publications of council newspapers.
Councils have received a legal direction from Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The national ‘Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity’, published in 2011, states council newspapers should be published no more than quarterly.
Some councils continue to publish fortnightly newspapers. It saves money on advertising statutory notices and provides a chance to keep residents up-to-date with services, events and opportunities in their borough.
The Council has a legal duty to publish statutory notices – such as proposed traffic measures and certain planning applications – in a newspaper. Some councils are currently publishing these in council newspapers and publishing these fortnightly. Producing a council newspaper on a quarterly basis and paying to advertise statutory notices in the local press might cost £100,000 more than current production of a council newspaper fortnightly costs. The local press also has a far lower circulation than a door to door delivered council newspaper, meaning fewer people would see the information.
Council newspapers also focuses on stories about council services, initiatives and consultations, and community events and opportunities. It also provides space for local groups, charities and organisations to highlight their work. Much of this content is not covered in the local press. Many residents value their council newspaper for these reasons.
It is often particularly valued among older residents, disadvantaged groups, and people who have limited access to the internet and social media.