Leicestershire & Rutland Association of Local Councils
The Leicestershire and Rutland Association of Local Councils (LRALC) provide services to 9 Town Councils, 182 Parish Councils and 89 parish Meetings across the two counties and has over 50 years' experience in giving advice and guidance to its member parishes.
A representative from the association was part of the original team that worked to specify and design the underlying web functionality supplied by 2commune. Their depth of knowledge and experience of how parish councils operate provided insight into the unique and varying requirements of local councils.
Chief Officer LRALC
Jake Atkinson said "LRALC signed up with 2Commune in December 2012 for the provision of a new website as it was felt the current one was outdated and lacked the functionality that would support a modestly resourced County Association that deal with a large caseload, such as LRALC".
"We chose to work with 2Commune partly because of our experience of the work they had done with our member Councils through the Leicestershire Parish Councils service which is contracted by Leicestershire County Council, but also because of the efficiencies and flexibility we believed the additional functionality embedded in the website would provide to the Association, and myself as Chief Officer. Finally, the ease of access to not only news, but also important briefings and other documents, combined with the ability to place queries with us meant that we believed that the investment we made would provide added value for our member councils".
"We have been using the website for over 6 months now and are very pleased with its ease of use, flexibility, member benefits, and (because every penny counts to a County Association such as ourselves!) the return on investment it has provided. The main benefits for LRALC and myself can be summarised as:
- Ability to utilise my time more effectively and efficiently by being able to access logged queries, CRM information, and key documents (including restricted LRALC internal documents) from wherever I have an internet connection.
- An exceptionally easy to update and upload "News" and "Documents" section whereby key developments and information can be published in a matter of minutes, with the ability to restrict access to member only briefings, etc, again from wherever I am.
- Instant access to a library of all the queries we have dealt with, which acts not only as a replacement for our previous database of logged queries (removing an additional task for our Administrator), but also provides a record of all advice provided should we need to refer to it at a later date (e.g. for similar queries where the advice can but cut and pasted and/or amended, or should a challenge arise in terms of the advice LRALC gave).
- An easy to maintain database of all local councils in our area which we provide on behalf of our County Council with councils able to send changes to contact details, etc, through the website itself, and which replaces a previous spreadsheet system. The new database is also able to export to a spreadsheet format if required.
- The ability for member councils to book training courses on-line and receive an automated confirmation 24/7, again reducing the amount of administrative time spent on such activity.
- The reduction in emails we send out to member councils, and in particular emails with large attachments as we are able to upload such files to our website and provide a link for members to access them when and where they choose.
We hope to utilise features such as the CRM more over time, providing as it does the ability to store information relating to precept, electorate, quality council status, and notes about activity with the member council and any developing issues. However, another benefit of the site is the fact that it is "modular", meaning that every element of the functionality does not have to be used by every CALC adopting the 2Commune system".