Web technology for local councils

The Old Rectory

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

Tel: 0116 412 0034

State of the art technology

"Joined-up online information and service delivery across the three tiers
of local government"

We use leading open source technology including PHP, MySQL, PostGIS, Memcache and Nginx along with a powerful CMS developed by our business partner, Cuttlefish. Our servers, managed by Cuttlefish, are hosted by Rackspace Cloud which gives us an industry-leading service level agreement and 100% network uptime guarantee.

We've been exploiting the benefits of open source technologies for several years. The UK Government now recognises the power of these technologies and is using them on the new gov.uk site which replaces Directgov and is the first step towards a single government website.

CMS - Content Management System

Our custom-built Content Management System (CMS) is a mature, stable system which has been built from the 'ground up' to satisfy the unique requirements for local council websites.

  • Easy-to-use integrated content management tools allow nominated editors to maintain and update site pages, as well as adding new pages, sections, events, news stories, images, videos and much more.
  • Content can be previewed and amended as many times as necessary and only need be published when the editor is completely satisfied with their changes.
  • Navigation is handled automatically, with menus updated as pages are added, deleted, shown or hidden.
  • Inherently standards compliant, our CMS ensures your website adheres to the latest web standards and accessibility guidelines and makes use of the latest technologies. As well as meeting current 'best practice' for code design, this also means your site will be optimised for search engine indexing.

APIs & Web Service components (Middleware)

The use of APIs (Application Programmers Interface) & web services enables us to provide technology agnostic components that can be used with any infrastructure and technologies. This means that we can link any organisation into our infrastructure no matter what technology they use. Our tried and tested components have been used by many public organisations using varying technologies.

A-Z of Services

A to Z API Image

The A-Z component aggregates the services from all partner sites, including district and county councils, police, fire service, health service etc. The aggregated output is made available as a web service for partners to display on their websites. For example, here's a link to a district council A-Z page displaying services from all three tiers of local government.

Our management console enables organisations to create and manage their A-Z of services even if they don't already have one on their website. This console allows for the linking of services to the standard government taxonomies (PIDs, IPSV etc) and allows for the creation of custom synonyms. Organisations can also use this dashboard to fine tune the A-Z displayed on their website.

Planning Applications

Our powerful planning aggregator provides near real-time links from local authority back-end planning systems and displays all applications on an interactive map and in list format.

The red lines on the image are district boundaries. Being able to see applications in other districts can be vital. Someone living close to a boundary (district or parish) may be more seriously impacted by an application from the neighbouring area than from across the other side of their own parish or district. Clicking on one of the blue markers takes the user directly into the detailed record for that application on the local authority site.

We have developed 'connectors' to most proprietary planning systems as well as some bespoke ones.

Open Data

The Open Data store can be used to hold, and make available, any public data about a wide range of organisations, including voluntary groups, councillors etc. Parish council contact details, which can be managed by, for instance, the Association of Local Councils in each county, are stored here.

This information can then be automatically fed into the relevant parish council website. This database is made available as a web service to partner agencies and is published as open data. The image shows how open data contact information is displayed on a parish council website.

Location / Geolocation

The location web service is used to establish 'where a customer is' and then directs them to information they require. This service uses post codes and property numbers and can be linked to the NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer) or NAG (National Address Gazetteer).