All 32 Scottish councils are now either engaged, in training, implementing or uploading their Public Information Notices to tellmescotland.gov.uk. Eighteen Scottish councils are now uploading their Planning, Licensing, Traffic and/or General Notices. A further seven Scottish councils have also committed to full implementation of the portal, which includes non-statutory notices and other information such as public consultations, events, key reports, school closures, flood alerts, elections and members' surgeries.
tellmescotland now has an area dedicated to Scottish public sector organisations, to provide a wider range of public information across Scotland. Each organisation will provide information that is topical and relevant to citizens and communities, including public announcements; public consultations; reports; news; events; surveys; alerts and other communication that bring both local and national matters of public interest together into a single location. There are further links within each organisation's pages that takes the user to further information, including who to contact. Seven public sector organisations (Care Inspectorate, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland, Scottish Social Services Council, Scottish Water, TAYplan, The General Teaching Council for Scotland, Water Industry Commission for Scotland) are now uploading to the Other Organisations section of the site, with further organisations due to begin uploading shortly.
Benefits to Scottish communities
tellmescotland.gov.uk brings Scotland's Public Information Notices together for the first time in one single location and supports the Scottish Government's 'open government' approach to accessing public information that is easy and convenient to the people of Scotland. Visitors to the site can quickly search for listings and maps of public notices by area, such as road closures, planning or property developments, licensing and any other type of general notices – in a clear and easy-to-understand format. Access and registration is free and anyone can use the portal to search for live and archived adverts to see how they might be affected by statutory or public service developments in their local authority area, or any other part of Scotland. There are real time text message and e-mail alerts available that will notify the user immediately as a notice is published that matches their predefined requirements. This is a significant improvement in the accessibility and depth of information provided previously through local advertisements. These improvements, in turn, should lead to greater engagement and a higher level of response to public notices.
Scottish councils and wider public sector organisations are not limited to uploading specific notice types but are able to upload 'General' notices to tellmescotland. This can be any type of public information notice, from public consultation notices, notices on Elected Members' surgeries and local community events. Recent positive feedback has been received from Community Councils within the Scottish Borders Council. The Council has recently begun uploading public consultation notices on proposed opening hour changes for local libraries and contact centres.
In terms of cost savings from the tellmescotland portal, these are being achieved with more efficiencies in the long-term depending on legislation change around PINs advertising. The Improvement Service and COSLA are currently developing a business case to go to Scottish Ministers around this legislation change. We recognise the importance of local newspapers and we have engaged with the media to inform this business case.
In the short term, the Improvement Service is funding Reduction in Advertising Costs training, whereby councils are advised on small steps they can easily take to reduce the amount that they spend on publishing their public notices in newspapers. These training sessions have been very successful and councils are already seeing positive results in their advertising costs.
More information on tellmescotland.gov.uk can be requested from: