Posted: Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:30 by Ray Smith
The Cabinet Office has launched the new digital strategy.
Delivering the keynote speech at the Reform think tank's annual conference in central London, Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, outlined the government's commitment to build on the Digital by Default services developed under the previous digital transformation strategy.
Gummer said: "I want to see a revolution in the way we deliver public services – so that people up and down our country feel that government is at their service at every single stage in the journey.
"That is why we are today (9th February 2017) publishing our Government Transformation Strategy, outlining our commitment to reshape government by ensuring millions of people are able to access online the services they need, whenever they need. We will deliver these changes while driving efficiencies wherever possible, making considerable savings for the taxpayer.
"Only by transforming the relationship between the citizen and the state – so that the latter serves the former – will we deliver the Prime Minister's commitment to build a country that works for everyone."
Watch Ben Gummer's keynote speech in the video below.
Posted: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:33 by Ray Smith
Last night we visited the home of 'The Blues' to check out the facilities for this year's user conference. We actually got a chance to hold the premier league cup! Wow what an experience, to think of all the famous players and managers that have held it over the last 24 seasons.
The next user group conference will be held on March 22nd, 2017 at the King Power stadium. Have you booked your place yet? If not why not book it now and have something to look forward to? It will be a great day, with plenty of time to meet us and to network with other members of the UKLC family. There will be loads of interesting topics and a chance to vote on new features to be included in the product.
Book your place and shake off those winter 'blues'. If you are a UKLC user and have not yet received your invite then please contact us for further details.
Posted: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 18:00 by Ray Smith
This time last year we had just completed our tender for the contract to continue to supply local council websites in Leicestershire & Rutland. We were tentatively waiting to hear how we had got on. It wasn't until February 2016 that we finally heard that we'd won the contract. We're delighted to say that we now have well over 100 Leicestershire & Rutland parishes back 'on-board'. Thank you all so much for staying with us.
This year we've continued to welcome many new, parish and town councils to the UKLC family. A considerable proportion of these have been 'smaller councils' most having received transparency funding to cover the cost of their sites.
Norfolk Association of Local Councils joined the growing number of CALCs using UKLC. It was great to meet them and a large number of member councils at their November conference.
Our 'Digital by Default' roadshow continues to truck on with the most recent one being held at the Suffolk Association's office only a few weeks ago.
We have lot's of exciting things in the pipeline for 2017 which already promises to be another fantastic year. The next UKLC Conference will be on March 22nd 2017, we hope to see you all there. If you've not received your invite yet then please contact us.
Our office will close at 5:00pm on Thursday, December 22nd and reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd 2017. Should you need any assistance during this period, please raise a technical support ticket or leave a message on the office answer machine and we will respond as soon as possible.
With the X Factor, Strictly and Apprentice finals over we've still got the Dr Who Christmas special to look forward to on TV. And then it's New Year!
A massive 'Thank You' to all of our customers old and new.
We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.
Here's to a great 2017!
From us all at 2commune
Posted: Wed, 21 Sep 2016 11:55 by Ray Smith
A recent study has identified that 82% of local government websites (district & county councils) do not meet target readability standards.
Long sentences are common and often contain more than 25 words.
Do you use plain English on your website?
This article contains more information about the study along with links to some useful resources.
People read differently on the web than they do on paper. This means that the best approach when writing for the web is different from writing for print.
Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2016 09:00 by Ray Smith
We have been working with Parish and Town councils in Leicestershire and Rutland for well over 10 years now and are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the new framework contract by Leicestershire County Council.
This sole supplier framework runs for 4 years and replaces the one previously held by 2commune which was established in 2013. Parish and Town Council's procuring websites under the framework benefit from a guaranteed fixed cost over the lifetime of the contract which has been reviewed by the County Council's legal department.
The contract was signed on February 16th 2016 and lasts until February 15th 2020.
Thomas Barker (Policy & Assurance Manager at Leicesteshire County Council) said: "We are pleased to announce that 2commune have won the contract for the new framework. Their bid offered the best value based on cost and quality over the life of the framework, as well as a product specifically designed for parish councils".
Councils in Leicestershire and Rutland wishing to find out more about the contract should contact us direct.
Posted: Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:00 by Ray Smith
Is it really the end of another year? It hardly seems like 5 minutes since we were writing our last Christmas message.
It's been a fantastic year and we've enjoyed a huge amount of success & innovation driven by our users. Normally things start to slow down at this time of year, however this December has been our best month ever.
We launched our new 'mobile optimised' templates and 'custom' design option at the 2015 user group event. The 'custom' design offers a rich, crisp new look and feel. Here's a few examples Duffield, Huntingdon, and Newtown Linford. Whilst our 'classic' template continues to be our best seller.
This year we have established ourselves as the major supplier in the local council sector. UKLC has raised the bar and is setting the industry standard for parish and town council websites across the UK. Our customer base now stretches from Cheshire to Cornwall, we now have 7 CALCs on-board.
Tina (our managing director) became a member of the Leicestershire & Rutland Local Council Award Scheme accreditation panel.
Ray (our strategy & development director) was re-elected as a parish councillor for Glenfield at this years election and now chairs the finance working party.
Our offices are now closed until Monday 4th January 2016. Should you need any assistance during this period, please raise a technical support ticket or leave a message on the office answer machine and we will respond as soon as possible.
That just leaves us to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy and Peaceful New Year from all at 2commune. We look forward to working with you all next year and to welcoming many more new customers 'on board' UKLC.
Posted: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 12:12 by Ray Smith
Those of you that have attended one of our digital by default workshops will be aware of the growing strategic importance of your website and how it is becoming the hub of your communications. This infographic should convince any remaining sceptics that the future is online.
As we're moving towards the New Year it could be a good time to review your website and check that it's still fit for purpose. Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is it optimised for mobile and tablet devices and can you switch between touch screen and desktop views to enhance the user experience on any particular device?
2) Does it have the required functionality or does it just look pretty but frustrate your users?
3) Is it being used or do parishioners still call or email you because they can't find what they want on your site?
If you would like any help or advice on the future of digital technology and how it can make your council more efficient and effective then please don't hesitate to contact us.
Posted: Tue, 05 May 2015 14:15 by Ray Smith
The Local Government Association and Comms2point0 have launched 'Digital Councils', a hub for local government on all things social media.
The resource can be found here: http://www.local.gov.uk/digital-councils and includes guidance on all elements of social media from getting to grips with Twitter and other social networks to building a digital strategy, providing a way for the LGA to work with a range of councils and councillors who can be moving at different speeds. It includes a mythbuster section as well as hints and tips pages specially designed to reflect the range of different roles in a council, such as officers and councillors.
Digital Councils will be continuously updated to reflect current work and will carry a range of case studies so authorities can learn from good practice elsewhere.
Cllr David Sparks, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
"Many councils have already got to grips with social media and are using it to communicate with their residents about things like bin collections, weather warnings and road closures.
Posted: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:30 by Ray Smith
This year's UKLC User Group Event was well attended with members travelling from as far afield as Yorkshire and Kent. The meeting was held in the council chamber at East Northamptonshire Council in Thrapston and was supported by the Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils.
Chris Pilkington from Yorkshire Local Councils Associations gave an illuminating presentation on the new local council award scheme and transparency code for smaller councils. Councils were encouraged to contact their local association for further details.
Chris's presentation set the scene for the rest of the day and was followed by a 'digital by default' crash course. Best practice case studies were used to demonstrate how councils have become more efficient and effective by exploiting the power of UKLC (UK Local Councils) web technology. Themes included: 'paperless councillors', 'online consultations' and 'avoidable contact'.
Eddie Plume from Buntingford Town Council gave a thought provoking presentation on 'Writing for the Web' and concluded that "verbiage is garbage".
Delegates then enjoyed a networking lunch.
In the afternoon UKLC users were updated on new functionality and features which included the launch of new designs and mobile optimised templates. Delegates were then given an opportunity to help shape the future of the product by assisting us to prioritise future developments from our 'wish list'. We will shortly be sending a 'My Notice' to all users summarising decisions made.
Richard Bartley from Wye With Hinxhill Parish Council said: "The 2commune event was insightful, and hearing from established users from different regions added a fresh perspective. I particularly like the opportunity to be part of the product development process, and join a community of users".
Posted: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 17:00 by Tina Britt
Picture of the Christmas lights in Leicester's town hall square, taken before an evening's celebrations on the town.
With Christmas upon us and 2015 just around the corner, we would like to thank all of our customers for making this another great year for 2commune.
Our customer base now stretches from Yorkshire to Kent. Not bad when you think we only made UKLC available outside of Leicestershire and Rutland just over a year ago. UKLC is rapidly becoming the 'industry standard' for parish and town council websites.
We are very pleased that Leicestershire County Council has extended the contract to make the older version (previously known as Leicestershire Parish Councils) available until September 2016. We would like to assure councils that we will keep that version going after that time if they wish to continue to use it. However, many of the Leicestershire and Rutland parish councils have now upgraded to the new version of UKLC with it's much improved functionality and we would encourage others to do the same.
The 'roll out of the Leicestershire Model' is picking up momentum and we are very pleased that the Derbyshire Association of Local Councils (DALC) has joined the family of Associations using our products. Since the launch of the Connecting Derbyshire project, both they and their members are already starting to enjoy the wider benefits that our technology delivers.
Looking ahead, 2015 promises to be an exciting and challenging year. The new Local Council Award Scheme will replace the old Quality Council award placing a much greater emphasis on the quality of parish and town council websites.
Hundreds of parish councils have now attended our 'How local councils can be more effective on-line workshops' and we already have a series planned for next year.
The next User Group Event will be held in Northamptonshire on February 18th. We have been busy adding new functionality to the product range and will be launching some exciting new features and design options at the event. You should all have received your invites by now and we look forward to seeing you there.
Our offices are now closed until Friday 2nd January 2014. Should you need any assistance during this period, please raise a technical support ticket or leave a message on the office answer machine and we will respond as soon as possible.
That just leaves me to wish you a Very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all at 2commune. We look forward to working with you all next year and to welcoming many more new customers 'on board' UKLC.