The application process for regional news outlets to bid for 150 BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporter contracts has opened.

The contracts form a core part of the Local News Partnership between the BBC and the News Media Association, which was set up to improve coverage of councils and other institutions across the UK.

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Applications opened on September 11 via the BBC’s Supplier Portal and close on October 13.

David Holdsworth, Controller of English Regions for the BBC, 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.”

News Media Association Chairman Ashley Highfield added: “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.