Agenda item


A number of presentations will be given by Jane Williams, Corporate Communications Manager B&NES, Tim White, IT Project Manager B&NES and Dawn Drury, Chair of ALCA regarding:


·  Role of the press office to include new roadworks bulletin and working with parishes

·  Refresh of Council website to include consultations

·  Local Government Transparency Code 2015 for parishes and website accessibility legislation


Jane Williams, Corporate Communications Manager B&NES gave a presentation regarding the role of the press office.  This included the following:


·  Details of the Corporate Communications team.

·  Responsibilities of the team and their day to day work.

·  Details of Council communications in numbers – such as 18,900 twitter followers, 248 mentions in the press last month and 55 media enquiries received on average each month.

·  Objectives of the Communications team.

·  Getting messages out.

·  Media relations and the law – Council publicity is strictly controlled by a Code of Practice established under the Local Government Act 1986.

·  Giving people a bigger say – “For a community to be a healthy local democracy, local understanding of the operation of the democratic process is important, and effective communication is key to developing that understanding.  Local authority publicity is important to transparency and to localism, as the public need to know what their local authority is doing if they are to hold it to account.”  Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity – Explanatory Memorandum.

·  Parish and Town Councils are invited to get in touch with the Communications Team if necessary.  They are also invited to subscribe to E-connect, the Council weekly newsletter.  People can sign up to E-connect using the following link:


A copy of the presentation slides are attached as Appendix 3 to these minutes.


Tim White, IT Project Manager, B&NES gave a presentation regarding the Council website.  This covered the following issues:


·  Changes to the Council website and reasons for the change.

·  What work is being carried out.

·  The benefits of the new website – the project is an enabler for wider digital transformation.

·  Structure of the new website.

·  The transactional nature of the new website – the top tasks will be more prominent and the most visited services will be on the home page.  This will adjust dynamically according to user needs.

·  Information on pages is laid out in a much more user friendly way, which helps meet new accessibility legislation.

·  Word and pdf forms will be replaced with online versions using data the Council holds more effectively and redesigning key online services such as viewing/commenting on planning applications.

·  There will be a new approach for policy and strategy documents.

·  The way B&NES communicates about consultations will also be improved.

·  There will be sites with a commercial/branding focus such as Building Control; there will be a refreshed jobs and careers site and a new Newsroom site.

·  The B&NES Newsroom page can be accessed using the following link

·  New web content will be released as it becomes available.


A copy of the presentation slides is attached as Appendix 4 to these minutes.


Dawn Drury, Chair of ALCA, gave a presentation regarding preparations for the Website Accessibility Regulations.  This covered the following issues:


·  Compliance with the regulations will become mandatory for all Town, Parish and Community Councils on 23 September 2020 and for mobile applications by 23 June 2021.

·  This will mean changes in the way information is published online as well as in the way web pages are written and also documents such as minutes and agendas.

·  This is important to improve accessibility of websites and mobile apps to ensure that they can be used by as many people as possible.

·  There is provision allowing continued use of non-compliant aspects of a website where compliance is a disproportionate burden.

·  Lack of time or knowledge or not giving the matter priority is no excuse for not making websites accessible.

·  Accessibility includes website content and design, type of font, ensuring that all documents are in the correct format and colour of print used in the website design.

·  Details of “dos” and “don’ts” for users who are deaf or hard of hearing, have dyslexia or have low vision were displayed.

·  The aspects of websites that can be checked now are:

o  Is your website correctly formatted?

o  Are you using descriptive links?

o  Are you saving your files in accessible PDF/A format?

o  Is your website written in simple language?

·  Details of Compton Dando Parish Council’s experience of making a website accessible were outlined.


A copy of the presentation slides are attached as Appendix 5 to these minutes.