By Matthew Robertson
The UK government has urged Scottish public bodies to continue using newspapers to publish their notices.
We were made aware of the minister’s concerns this week as he announced that he didn’t approve of suggestions that there could a general shift towards only publishing information such as job adverts on public sector websites.
These comments came in the wake of a week that highlighted the future of the Scottish newspaper industry by the Commons’ Scottish affairs committee.
With newspapers sales at a current low, and papers struggling to receive income from advertising across the board, within both online and printed media, this could be seen as a dent to the private sector’s ambitions as they would be denied any access to online advertising which would have a negative effect on their income.
In response, the Scotland Office recognised that councils have to attempt to try and save money, particularly during this current economic crisis.But it stated “The government takes the view that there should not be a policy of publishing notifications only online”.
“Part of the duty when placing notices, such as job advertisements, is that they are effective in reaching their target population.”
The Scotland Office has since insisted and asked Scottish councils and the Hollyrood government to show big parts of the population would not be affected, before removing public notices entirely from newspapers.
Its response added: “We are concerned at suggestions of a move to publish public notices on public sector portals whilst broadband take-up remains relatively low in some areas of Scotland.”
The committee welcomed the UK government’s position.