Anyone with an interest in browsing public notices can now access some of those issued by Birmingham City Council as part of a new smartphone app trial.
Birmingham Notiz, developed in partnership with Trinity Mirror Group (parent publisher of titles including the Birmingham Mail), gives users the opportunity to examine a limited range of planning applications and details of proposed roadworks.
As well as offering them in a traditional list format, users who input their postcode can also view all notices relevant to their neighbourhood and nearby areas on an interactive map.
During the trial, which runs until September, public notices will continue to appear in the local media as usual. Findings from the trial will be used by central government to determine how public notices are best communicated in the future.
Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We need to ensure we are always communicating as effectively as possible with our citizens.
“The development of new technologies such as apps could make the way in which public notices are managed much simpler from a council and resident perspective.
“This pilot will enable us to assess the operational and financial benefits that may be obtained from such an app – and I would urge everyone to have a look and let us know what they think.”
Anyone who uses the app will be invited to take part in a survey at the end of the pilot to enable the council and Trinity Mirror to evaluate how well the project has worked.
If the use of the app is then eventually extended in Birmingham, the council would consider the incorporation of all planning applications (regardless of who makes the application) licensing notices and any other public notices the council can be required to issue on an ad-hoc basis.
To download the app or find out more, visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/notiz
Notes to editors
1. Local Authorities have an obligation to notify people who are affected by planning applications, travel disruption, licensing and other public matters. Historically, this has been resolved by placing notices in local papers, mailshots, notices on lampposts and other outside locations and by leafleting.
In 2014, acknowledging the cost to councils of promoting notices and the advent of modern technologies that are not currently utilised, the then-Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles called on councils to work with the newspaper industry to embrace new media technologies to improve statutory notices and better inform the public.
The Birmingham Notiz pilot is part of the effort to explore what could be done in the future to ensure notices are promoted digitally in a way that means they are accessible as possible.
2. Birmingham City Council is one of seven local authorities across the UK to be participating in the specific Notiz pilot programme. The other councils include Ealing, Haringey, Hammersmith and Fulham, plus three Teesside councils in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar and Cleveland. The seven participating local authorities have partnered with Trinity Mirror Group, the publisher of the Birmingham Mail, to develop and roadtest the Notiz app technology as part of a wider government funded scheme to innovate in the provision of public notices to the electorate.