Jim Raeburn, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society has said that he does not believe that public notice adverts will disappear from newspapers, despite the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)’s launch of an online platform specifically designed to carry public notices.
Earlier this year, MSP’s voted against plans for local councils to adopt a centralised online platform as the base for public notices, and said they would continue to support newspapers carrying the notices, having been lobbied by the society.
The Society had argued that by placing the notices online, rather than in print, they would be less accessible to the public due to a poor broadband infrastructure in Scotland and not everyone having access to the internet or being comfortable in using it.
Despite this, COSLA has proceeded with the development of tellmescotland.gov.uk, a online platform created to carry the public notices of all 32 local authorities in Scotland.
Already authorities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire are using the platform, developed by Glasgow digital agency Spider Online, with the rest expected to follow in the coming months.
Raeburn, however believes that newspapers will continue to carry public notices despite the website beginning to carry notices itself.
“I don’t see it as inevitable that public sector notices will disappear from newspapers at all,” commented Raeburn. “That’s what COSLA and its improvement services will no doubt be hoping to achieve but the relatively low broadband connections in Scotland, the people who don’t have an interest to declare making very clear that they wish to use newspaper for public notices, they will continue to be in newspapers,” he continued.
Raeburn said that he had spoken to opposition parties who had rejected the proposal, and said that he had been assured that they would continue to oppose the move online, even if they were to gain power in the future.
“Given that there is an election every four years, provided that is the case, then there will be a full four years without any legislation,” he added.