2commune

Web technology for local councils

The Old Rectory

Contact: 2commune Limited
The Old Rectory, Main Street
Glenfield, Leicestershire
LE3 8DG

Tel: 0845 868 3975

News

A great evening at County Hall

Posted: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 13:52 by Ray Smith

It was great to see so many of our customers at the Leicestershire County Council Annual Parishes Liaison Event on Monday evening. Thanks to all of you that came over to our stand for a chat.

An informative evening, started with a networking session and buffet. The formal session held in the council chamber commenced with an opening speech from Guy Jackson (pictured) followed by an update from LRALC. Ivan Ould (LCC cabinet member) then presented the idea of a single enlarged 'Leicestershire Council' and how this could save taxpayer's money. Nigel Grundy from Enderby Parish Council then conducted a fascinating presentation on how they hold community surgeries in the library. The evening concluded with facilitated workshops to look at joint working between parishes and the County Council.

The picture shows Guy Jackson (LRALC Chairman) with Ray Smith (2commune's Strategy & Development Director).

Tags: UK Local Councils, UKLC, Parish Council Websites

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) What's it all about?

Posted: Fri, 30 Mar 2018 12:00 by Ray Smith

I'm sure that you are all aware that GDPR comes into force on May 25th 2018.

GDPR replaces the existing law on data protection (the Data Protection Act 1998) and gives individuals more rights and protection regarding how their personal data is used by councils. Local councils and parish meetings must comply with its requirements.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has published a comprehensive toolkit to support local councils. If you don't have a login to NALC's website please ask your local association for details. This toolkit provides a number of practical tools to assist local councils with GDPR compliance including an action plan, checklist and a data audit questionnaire. Templates for privacy notices and consent forms are also included.

You can be assured that UKLC gives you all the necessary tools to ensure that your council's website and email accounts comply with the regulation. We will be updating the generic privacy policy but you may need to consider more specific text at the point of data collection. An example can be seen here.

We have prepared a GDPR information bulletin that has been sent to all UKLC site editors. Please contact us if you haven't received yours yet.

Tags: UK Local Councils, Websites for parish and town councils, GDPR, UKLC, Resource

2commune supporting the Local Council Award Scheme

Posted: Mon, 08 Jan 2018 08:30 by Ray Smith

Many of our customers have started their LCAS journey with several already having reached the coveted 'Gold' status.

Tina Britt, our Managing Director is a member of the Leicestershire and Rutland LCAS assessment panel (pictured here with Andy Ellis - Lutterworth Town Clerk). This helps us to be at the forefront of the requirements and to actively contribute to process improvement. The picture was taken when the panel sat recently to consider an application from Stoney Stanton Parish Council.

John Kay from Dursley Town Council in Gloucestershire said "The UK Local Councils (UKLC) website is very easy to use and is structured in a way that made it simple for the assessment panel to locate the necessary documents and to meet the accreditation requirements. Our intention to gain LCAS gold status was a very important consideration when making the decision to select 2commune as our website provider".

Here's some of our customers that have already achieved gold; Raunds Town Council, Dursley Town Council, Anstey Parish Council, Painswick Parish Council and Skegness Town Council. More information on the Local Council Award Scheme including a full list of councils and what stage they are at can be found on NALCs website here.

Sara Atkinson from Ashover Parish Council said: "The document management system means that all documents can be viewed in one place which makes finding documents a piece of cake".

We would like to congratulate all councils that have risen to the challenge and achieved an LCAS award - Well Done!

Tags: UK Local Councils, UKLC, Parish Council Websites, Local Council Award Scheme

Christmas Message from 2commune

Posted: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:30 by Ray Smith

We've had another fantastic year thanks to you (our customers), it's been great working with you all. The 2017 User Group was the first big event of the year. This was a roaring success and we're now busy developing the new features that you all voted for.

Many smaller councils have joined the UKLC family over the last couple of years having benefited from transparency code funding. The fund comes to an end in March 2018 so if there are any small councils out there that still haven't applied for the grant act now as time is running out.

A large number of our customers have enrolled on the Local Council Award Scheme with several having already achieved the coveted gold status. Assessors have often commented on how easy it is to find the necessary information on UKLC making their job easier.

Our 'Digital by Default' course has evolved into a course called 'All Things Digital' the most recent one was run in Yorkshire only a few weeks ago. We will be on the road again next year. Look out for one near you if you haven't already attended.

There's no doubt that next year will present more challenges to the sector with GDPR probably being at or near the top of the list. We will ensure that our technology fully complies with any legislation and make it easy for you to manage your online commitments.

We have lot's of exciting things in the pipeline for 2018 which promises to be another busy year. We'll be improving our website to make it a more useful resource for members of UKLC.

This Christmas Amy (pictured) made the office aware of the YMCA's 'shoe-box challenge'. We all thought this was a great idea and were well up for it as you can see. If you are interested you can find out how to make a contribution to the YMCA here and join us in helping to keep young people safe.

We grow our business by referrals. If you feel that we provide a good service and that our websites have helped you become more efficient and effective then why not recommend us to other local councils?

The office will close at 5:00pm on Friday, December 22nd and reopen on Tuesday, January 2nd 2018. 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.

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 2018!

Best Wishes,
From us all at 2commune

Tags: News, Christmas, UK Local Councils, Websites for parish and town councils

A great day at Cromford Mills

Posted: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 16:30 by Ray Smith

Derbyshire Association of Local Councils 71st AGM was held in the Gothic Warehouse at Cromford Mills. Cromford Mills was the first water-powered cotton spinning mill developed by Richard Arkwright in 1771. It is the birthplace of the modern factory system and internationally recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The day included a fascinating presentation on how to produce a good press release and concluded with a networking lunch followed by a tour of the site.

The picture shows Wendy Amis (left) and Glen Ingham (right) from DALC with Ray Smith from 2commune (in the middle).

Tags: UKLC, UK Local Councils, Websites for parish and town councils

Yellow Pages - End of an Era

Posted: Mon, 04 Sep 2017 16:25 by Ray Smith

The Yellow Pages is no more. We all had one next to our phone helping us to solve domestic crises and securing local traders lucrative work.

After 51 years, owners Yell have decided to close the book and offer a purely online service, as people tend to just Google things these days.

Does your council provide an online directory to your community?

UK Local Councils (UKLC) includes an online community directory making it easy for members of the community to find local groups and businesses. This helps people find what they are looking for locally which helps them and the local economy. Here's an example.

Tags: Websites for parish and town councils, UK Local Councils

Throw your keyboard away and talk to your computer.

Posted: Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:35 by Ray Smith

The government is starting to deliver services in new and innovative ways. The computer keyboard is still the biggest barrier to using a computer. This new service allows you to ask when your car tax is due simply by talking to 'Alexa' via your Echo.

An Amazon Echo is a hands-free smart speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather and more.

DVLA has become the latest public sector organisation to trial an Alexa product, known as a 'skill', which allows customers to check their vehicle tax and MOT status.

This information, which is also available on gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax, helps customers to check the date their vehicle tax is due, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Further information is available including how to download the 'skill' for use on your echo here.

Tags: News, accessibilty

Devolution of services to local councils

Posted: Thu, 25 May 2017 18:00 by Ray Smith

Jonathan Owen (NALC Cheif Executive) is pictured here with Tina Britt from 2commune at the spring conference in Norfolk.

In his presentation to Norfolk parishes, Jonathan said that "results of a recent consultation conducted by NALC showed that over 70% of respondents are keen to get involved in local service delivery".

As higher tier authorities face reduced funding they won't be able to fund discretionary services. There is a real opportunity for local councils to pick up the baton and deliver new local services in innovative and exciting ways.

The public have always been confused about which tier of local government provides what services. This is only going to become more confusing as service delivery moves between tiers.

2commune have developed a comprehensive A - Z of services directory which makes it easy for members of the public to find the service they need (even if it's not provided by the parish or town council). The directory has recently been upgraded to make it easy to add, remove or modify services at any level of local government. This system links into GOV.UK to provide automated links to higher tier authorities.

Tags: UKLC, UK Local Councils, Websites for local councils, Websites for parish and town councils

Norfolk ALC Spring Conference

Posted: Thu, 25 May 2017 10:48 by Ray Smith

Ray Smith (from 2commune ) is pictured here with Russell Reeve (Norfolk ALC's County Officer).

The theme of the conference was Sustainability and was held at The Great Britain Centre in Swaffham.

It was a scorching hot day, an upbeat agenda kept everyone's attention. There were lots of questions and the main session was followed by a networking lunch.

We would like to thank all of those who were able to visit the stand. Our 'Crash Course in Digital by Default' was well received by attendees.

Finally there was a chance to take a tour of the Windmill although we heard that Helen chickened out due to the unnerving swaying sensation as she climbed the tower.

Tags: UKLC, UK Local Councils, Websites for local councils, Websites for parish and town councils

UKLC User Conference 2017

Posted: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 09:15 by Ray Smith

This year's UKLC User Group Conference was held at the King Power Stadium in Leicester on Wednesday, March 22nd.

The theme of the conference was 'Simplify, Standardise and Share'. Sessions were varied and included best practice, case studies and the use of social media. UKLC users were updated on new functionality and features. Delegates were given an opportunity to help shape the future of the product by assisting us to prioritise future developments from our 'wish list'. UKLC users will shortly be receiving a 'My Notice' which will include handouts and the results of the vote.

There were plenty of opportunities for networking including round table discussions. The added bonus this year, was a directors box being freely available throughout the day for delegates to view the pitch which proved to be a hit!

Roger Harrington - Whittlebury Parish Council said: "I thought the whole day was excellent and couldn't have been bettered. The presentations were top-notch, helpful and informative and your encouragement of audience participation right from the off was a very important part of the conference's success. There was a spectrum of competencies among the users from the new recruits like us to the very experienced, and you skilfully catered for all abilities. Of course, the networking is always such a useful part of such meetings and there was plenty of opportunity for that at coffee, lunch and tea.

The catering was of a very high standard and I couldn't fault the food and beverages. So, overall, 100% brilliant and I would encourage any UKLC website user to seriously consider attendance at future conferences which, personally, I hope will be annually."

Thank you to all that attended.

Tags: UKLC, UK Local Councils, Parish Councils, Town Councils, Websites for local councils, Parish Council Websites