Braunstone Town Council
Ian Laughton, Executive Officer and Town Clerk
Braunstone Town Council is the largest Town Council in Leicestershire, it represents a population of over 15,000 people and manages an annual budget in excess of £600,000 per year.
Ian Laughton (Executive Officer and Town Clerk) was part of the original team that worked to specify and design the underlying web functionality supplied by 2commune today. The team which included a representative from the Leicestershire & Rutland Association of Local Councils (LRALC) had a wide variety of website experiences and so had good insight into the requirements of a local council. Some had a website that relied on the provider to manage the content, this had become inflexible and expensive as content frequently needed to be updated. The provider charged for their time doing this and was not always available when urgent changes were required.
Another council had a website that was built by their clerk, this enabled them to update and manage their own content and provided a degree of flexibility although the system was difficult to use and lacked the specialised functionality required by a busy local council. When the clerk left, the council were no longer able to maitain the site.
Ian Laughton said "Our current website technology is built from the ground up to satisfy the needs of a local council. It integrates seamlessly with the County and District councils to automate the A-Z of services and planning applications feed. The meetings calendar is automatically archived. The whole system is designed to automate as much as possible to enable our staff managing the site to be highly productive, yet remains flexible so as not to limit our creativity. Another really important point is that the system automatically ensures that we meet legislative guidelines and accessibility standards. When we were audited for the 'Quality Council' standard our website was singled out as a best practise site".
Ian went on to say "We were recently faced with a need for 'data transparency', basically we were required to have a list of all expenditure over £500 shown on the website so that our parishioners have clear visibility of what we spend our money on. We worked with 2commune to build this functionality into our website and we hope that there will soon be an option to automatically export the information from our accounting system."
Braunstone Town Council have made good use of the functionality provided by our website technology. For example they have used our flexible form design tool to build a fault reporting form to allow parishioners to report a fault anytime of the day or night. They have also produced an online community hall booking form which has greatly increased the number of bookings and income from their facilities.