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12 September 2017

Applications Open for BBC Funded Local Democracy Reporters

The BBC’s Local News Partnership has passed a milestone this week with the opening of the applications for regional news outlets to apply for BBC funded Local Democracy Reporter contracts.

The 150 local democracy reporters will form a core part of the Local News Partnership agreement between the BBC and the News Media Association, set up to improve the coverage of councils and other institutions across the UK.

The application process for regional news outlets seeking to bid for Local Democracy Reporter contracts opened on September 11, via the BBC’s Supplier Portal. It closes on October 13.

Welcoming the opening of the applications, News Media Association Chairman Ashley Highfield said: “This is a major milestone in the partnership forged between the NMA and the BBC where we can announce the start of the recruitment process for the 150 local democracy reporters.

“Media organisations will be able to bid to run the contracts for the reporters, which means we will see the addition of nearly 150 journalists working in newsrooms up and down the country.

“Once recruited and in place they will help to support the scrutiny our news organisations provide for the way public money is spent by local councils and authorities - which is a fundamental part of our local democracy.”

The LNP is a joint working agreement between the BBC and the News Media Association to provide a commitment to full and fair reporting of decisions taken by local authorities and other public bodies across the UK.

The proposals represent an overall investment of around £8million per year to support both the BBC’s on-going public mission to serve local audiences and the growth and evolution of the commercial news media sector. 

David Holdsworth, Controller of English Regions, said: “With the application process opening for the contracts for Local Democracy Reporters this week we have reached another important milestone in the Local News Partnership. Reporting on council meetings and holding regional politicians to account is a major part of the democratic process.”


 Notes to Editors

Full details on the Local News Partnership can be found here -

More than 600 news titles and outlets representing more than 50 media organisations were approved as Section One partners of the LNP earlier this year. These are those titles that will receive access to video and audio reports from the BBC News Hub, content generated by a Shared Data Unit and content generated by Local Democracy Reporters. The full list can be seen here -

Applications for further Section One partners as well as Section Two partners (those organisations who will employ Local Democracy Reporters) are now being accepted – see

While the Local Democracy reporters will be under the editorial direction and control of their employers, processes have been jointly agreed to ensure the quality of coverage is in line with the BBC’s public service obligations.  

The Shared Data Unit secondments will see 12 journalists from approved Section One partners working alongside BBC journalists in the first year. It is proposed that secondees will join the BBC in groups of four for three-month periods.