Public notices. Reducing spend

As part of LGiU’s investigation into how councils publish public notices we are collecting case studies from councils who are experimenting with innovative ideas within the current legal requirements. Here is a guest post from Buckinghamshire County Council.

The Commercial Services team at Buckinghamshire County Council has driven significant savings from reducing spend on public notice advertising through lowering the demand using a phased approach. Spend is expected to reduce from circa £325,000 to circa £134,550 per annum.

In the first phase (January 2012), we decided to reduce the font size of our adverts from 7 point to 6 point. For such a simple change this reduced the advert size and cost by a staggering 31%. (£100,750)

To support the second phase (October 2012), the Commercial team brought in The Potent Mix to run a training session for staff placing adverts and to challenge the actual legal requirement in the adverts which has led to the removal of logos, contact names and a reduction in wording. The average savings from these changes is a further 40%. (£89,700).

Traditionally, procurement reviews have concentrated on market facing elements, so this is a really good example of where the team have considered demand management of a category. In terms of ease of implementation this is a quick win, however it requires strong joint working with the Place service (Planning, Transportation etc), and Legal service, together with a pragmatic approach from the Communications team.

Paul Raimbach,

Category Manager – Corporate, Buckinghamshire County Council

Please visit www.reformpublicnotices.tumblr.com for more case studies.

    1. Jan Hillary says:

      We are building a business case to bring our advertising in-house and in doing so will making savings of at least £25k per annum. In the North East of England we have shared information about publishing our public notices online and providing a Plain English varsion but promoting it with a small signposting advert in the local media. If our council went down this route we would save £200K. If the LGIU is lobbying to get the law changed we would be happy to share more information and support the lobby.

    2. FredMark says:

      Why not reduce the type to 4 point? It would be completely illegible but would save 70%. Public Notices should be published by online news organizations. Because then the people would see them and the councils would save even more money. The laws need to be changed. In the U.S. the laws have been challenged in many states but no changes have passed. read legal-notice.org/blog .

    3. C Williams says:

      The point of a public notice is that it should be read by the public. The policy here is a cynical exercise to obey the letter of the law whilst ignoring the intent of the law. Advertisements in 6 point type are unreadable for many people and the lack of contact details, etc makes them even more worthless. The council clearly feel that placing these advertisements is a box-ticking exercise but, if they really feel this way, they should lobby for the law to be changed to remove the obligation to place the advertisements, rather than take matters into their own hands.

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