Council media spending to be reviewed

Isle of Wight County Hall

The Isle of Wight Council is reviewing the way it advertises in local and national media, it was announced at Full Council on Wednesday 27th February.

Speaking to a technical Motion, Councillor Chris Whitehouse, who leads on communications in his role as Cabinet Secretary, told the meeting that over the last five years, nearly £600,000 had been spent on publicity in the County Press alone, mostly by the previous Independent Administration, and that it was, he said, time to review the way in which publicity is commissioned.

After the meeting, Councillor Whitehouse said: “In these challenging times it is vital that we scrutinise every penny that we spend so that Islanders can be confident they are getting value for money. I’m not convinced that is the case at present.”

The councillor is working with the Assistant Chief Executive to review every aspect of the Council’s approach to communications on behalf of the current Conservative Administration. He added: “The way in which Islanders use the media has changed dramatically since the last review. We now have two island-wide printed papers, the County Press and the Observer, we have a fantastic local radio station, Isle of Wight Radio, which has an informative web site used by thousands of local people, and the ever-more-popular Island Echo. We are also served by the BBC website and Radio Solent, along with Wave105FM, the Beacon and a host of excellent magazines. It’s only right that we look at what works best for Islanders in terms of accessing public service information.”

Some public notices must be printed by law, such as planning notices and road closures, but, says Councillor Whitehouse, “These laws are half a century old and completely out of step with how most people consume media, so I will also be making representations to the Island’s energetic, effective and digital-savvy MP, Bob Seely, and Government Ministers to support the many councils which have already done so to ask that the cost burden of this approach be lifted.”

Commenting on his own media preference, the councillor concluded by saying: “personally, I’m really into music so I’m a Sam FM listener mostly!”