Web technology for local councils

The Old Rectory

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

Tel: 0116 412 0034


Yellow Pages - End of an Era

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.

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

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

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

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

Government Launches New Digital Strategy

Government Launches New Digital Strategy

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.

Tags: UK Local Councils, Websites for parish and town councils, Resource, Strategy, Parish Council Websites, Town Council Websites, UKLC

Shake Off Those Winter Blues!

Shake Off Those Winter Blues!

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.

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

What a Difference a Year Makes, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

What a Difference a Year Makes, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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!

Best Wishes,
From us all at 2commune

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

Writing For The Web

Writing For The Web

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.

Tags: Websites for local councils, Resource, Parish Councils, Town Councils

2commune wins Leicestershire Framework Contract for a further 4 years.

2commune wins Leicestershire Framework Contract for a further 4 years.

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.

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