The digital transformation of Parish Councils has begun. Parish Councils originated in medieval times and are the first level of government for UK citizens. They are now adopting cloud computing services to provide a better service for the local community.
Andy Black Associates has been awarded an official listing as a G-Cloud 9 (G9) cloud hosting service provider for its suite of digital services for Parish Councils and local government. G9 services became available on the Digital Marketplace on 22nd May 2017.
Andy Black Associates provide Parish Councils with a low-cost, easy-to-use and customisable hosted WordPress website template, specifically designed for Parish Councils, that will enable them to improve engagement with the local community, comply with the 2015 Transparency Code and provide a better service for parishioners. The hosted website is also fully responsive when viewed on a mobile device.
The software-as-a-service for Parish Councils includes monthly backups, data storage, data security, support and access to a streamed video e-learning library that enables Parish Council members to easily learn how to update and customise their sites.
Parish clerks will be able to comply with the Transparency Code and publish all items of expenditure above £100, end of year accounts, annual governance statement, internal audit reports, list of councillor or member responsibilities, details of public land and building assets and also the minutes, agendas and meeting papers of formal meetings.
In addition, value added content such as planning applications, parish history, local services and Neighbourhood Development Plans can also be added. The website pages can be shared as links on the Parish Twitter and Facebook accounts increasing engagement with the local community.
The service was developed and iterated over the last year by collaborating with parish clerks, parish councillors and local government officers and is currently being rolled out by the Hereford Association of Local Councils, where over 50 Parish Councils have already adopted the cloud service. Some “early adopters” in this group are starting to develop their Parish Council websites into community hubs and self-organising networks.
Lynda Wilcox, the Chief Executive of Hereford Association of Local Councils, said “The Parish Councils in Hereford using the service have already noticed an increase in the number of parishioners attending meetings, more engagement with older parishioners by email and also more younger parishioners turning up at meetings wanting to get involved in local democracy.”
Mark Millmore, ABA Director of Hosted Services, said “Our low-cost and easy-to-use, software-as-a-service (SaaS) can be easily rolled out to any of the 8,356 Parish Councils in England and G-Cloud will be an important route for us to reach these government organisations.
Our software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model will enable Parish Councils to improve their service to the local community and allow significant savings from the Central Government budget allocated to the National Association of Local Councils (NALC’s) and its 38 independent County Associations for Transparency Code compliance for each of the 8,356 Parish Councils under their administration.
The ABA pricing matrix for Parish Council websites being offered to NALC and to each of the 38 independent County Associations that administer the 8,356 Parish Councils is a one off fee of:
- £500 each for 1-10 websites
- £400 each for 11-30 websites
- £350 each for 31-50 websites
- £300 each for 51-99 websites
- £250 each for 100+ websites
The one off fee includes all technical set up in the datacentre, domain name registration, custom email server, plugins, logo, menus and pages, SEO, loading of archive content, Google Maps integration and access to a customised Parish Council specific video elearning library.
After the first year there is a £100 annual fee for each website that covers 9-5 support, maintenance, plugin and database updates, monthly backups and access to the customised Parish Council specific video elearning library.
Our low-cost and easy-to-use cloud service will help Parish Councils comply with the Transparency Code and provide a better service to the local community.
Take a look at some examples of our Parish Council websites:
As such, we are delighted to have been awarded a place on the G9 Agreement, the latest iteration of G-Cloud, and can’t wait to take advantage of the many opportunities that the initiative offers for both suppliers and government bodies.”
If you have any questions, contact Mark Millmore on 07891108154
- The Guardian – “Parish Councils: an unlikely urban safety net” – April 2017
- LocalGov – “The changing face of Parish Councils” – May 2017
- The Guardian – “Parish Councils suit city dwellers not just rural Britain” – May 2016
- LocalGov – “Why Parish Councils are getting involved in planning applications” – June 2017
- Wikipedia – “Map and listing of all 8,356 English civil parishes” – June 2017
- The MJ – “Time to connect the disconnected” – June 2017
- Department for Communities & Local Govt – “Transparency Code” – December 2014
- Public Finance – “Council digital technology needs to improve” – April 2017
- Public Finance – “Civil servants still back digital transformation” – June 2017
- Public Finance – “Government digital transformation “too slow” – June 2017
- BBC – “Parish council tax bills rise despite squeeze” – February 2017
G-Cloud is a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) initiative to encourage public sector adoption of cloud services by connecting government organisations with providers of all sizes in a secure and open environment. The CCS acts on behalf of the Crown to drive savings for the taxpayer and improve the quality of commercial and procurement activity across both local and central government.
To qualify for inclusion in G9, organisations need to prove that they are a suitable and secure potential partner for government technology projects. They must be prepared to list the capabilities of their products, along with indicative pricing. As a result, G9 provides public sector bodies with an open, secure and transparent digital marketplace in which to search for cloud solutions.
It also provides new business opportunities to businesses that pass the checks required to qualify for G9 status. Crown Commercial Service suppliers are given an opportunity to advertise their services to a wide range of interested public sector bodies in a competitive environment. Since it became available in 2012, UK government organisations have placed billions of pounds’ worth of orders through the service with most orders being won by SME’s.