Public Notice Portal: A powerful boost for local democracy

THE Rotherham Advertiser sits right at the heart of local democracy — and we are now introducing a new service that will strengthen the position of our readers.

Our journalists hold authority to account on your behalf, covering the courts and council meetings so you know what’s going on.

In print and online — reaching more than 100,000 people — we publicise the good work that many do across the borough and we champion your interests through campaigning and appeals which deliver real results for local communities.

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An important but less talked about part of our offering though is public notices.

These are advertisements, placed in the main by local authorities, which provide information about subjects such as planning applications or changes to traffic regulations.

If a local bar wants to extend its opening hours, you’ll find out about it through a public notice in the pages of the Rotherham Advertiser.

Sometimes, public notices can generate controversy and get everyone 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.

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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 regional media’s large and increasing digital audiences while ensuring everyone can still access them in their printed 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.

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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.   

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The portal is completely free to use and is part of our 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 its beta phase and has not yet been rolled out across the whole industry.

Instead, it is being tested in key areas such as Rotherham 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.

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That will create an enormously powerful new resource for everyone to tap into.

During the initial phase of the project, you have the opportunity to have your say about this transformative technology.

Visit the portal at, 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.

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