I’ve previously written about Allingtononline – a community website for the village of Allington in Lincolnshire that I have been developing since 2011. It’s been updated recently and as part of the redevelopment process I undertook some research on services available to parish councils looking to obtain their own website. I’ve previously explained that I think local councils are poorly served in this area and while there have been improvements there are still some dubious looking sample sites around and some spurious claims about the requirements for a council website.
I still see portfolio examples that don’t feature responsive design which is really strange in 2016. It’s also evident that some suppliers are exaggerating the requirements of the Transparency Code and suggesting they apply to all councils. Finally, there are still too many suppliers that charge excessive amounts for domain registration and hosting. Maintenance charges can also be very steep and you do get the impression that these services are aimed at those that don’t readily understand how much some of these things should cost.
Allingtononline is not produced simply for the benefit of the local parish council. Far from it. Nonetheless, it does provide an opportunity for the council to have a place on the web and fulfil some of its statutory obligations such as advertising its audit activities. What it sets out to be is a focal point for all of the community organisations in the village and a place for individuals to express their opinion on local matters.
Allington has a population of just over 900 and the website attracts about 600 visits per month with page views approaching the 2000 mark. It is certainly well used and we often see spikes in visitors when a major village event approaches. It works in tandem with a Facebook group and between them, they have provided a vibrant home for digital community activity.
Have a look at the website. If you like what you see and want something similar I’d be delighted to have a chat.