COUNCILLORS have agreed to reinstate a budget of £50,000 to ensure the continued publication of three editions of council paper Your Dorset.
Members of Dorset County Council’s cabinet agreed to the move after initially withdrawing a budget for Your Dorset with the hope that it could instead be subsidised through the publication of public notices.
However, cabinet member for education and communications Toni Coombs told the meeting that investigations revealed public notices must be published in a ‘newspaper’ by law and Your Dorset did not publish with sufficient frequency to be classified as a newspaper.
But despite the fact that the three editions will not be able to carry public notices, councillors decided it was an important tool in keeping taxpayers informed about the council’s work.
Cllr Coombs said that, while the council was looking to develop other communication channels such as social media, it was important to keep Your Dorset as a way of communicating with residents and feedback suggested it was valued by the community.
She said: “It is the only piece of media that actually does go to every household in the county.”
Several other members supported her view and backed the need to retain three editions of the publication.
Cabinet member for environment Peter Finney said: “We do need to look at the wider Dorset area and not everybody is internet enabled. It’s an important issue that we can get out and communicate with people.”
Cabinet member for adult social care Jill Haynes said: “I think it’s absolutely essential that we ensure that we have funding for these three issues because people value them and that’s how they find out about the county council.
“The main information people get is from Your Dorset.”
Cabinet member for corporate resources Robert Gould said he agreed with the need to maintain a printed communication channel but said it was important to keep monitoring the situation in light of the ever growing use of social media and other media channels.
He said: “It’s crucial an organisation like this continues to keep residents informed because it’s their money we are spending.
“I do think we need to keep this under careful review.”