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CAMPAIGN Friends of Library: Media release points the way towards charitable status for local library

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Can we ask that something be done about the Pevensey Parish Council website please?—Bay Life, 8 September 2017

The information provided by clerk to the council, Malcolm Lawson, is an example of best practice, but no-one sees the news.

The council does not even know how many people visit their website every day (the answer sadly is almost none).

Pevensey Parish Council keeps the community informed about important parish wide matters with their new social media feed. The notes offered by clerk to the Council, Malcolm Lawson, are useful authoritative and well written.

Best practice web platforms embed their social media feeds into their web platform. The reason that they work in this way is because people browsing for news then go on to engage with the work of councils.

The site is let down by being a model based on 2008 (and sadly even a poor model for 2008) and is almost 10 years out of date.

Accessible and engaging web platforms that are informative can be of significant value to communities and this website, sadly, is an embarrassment.

Bay Life understands that since 2008, £300 a year has been spent on the ‘update’ of the website. This record appears in the financial information disclosed by the council.

This would mean that £2,700 has been spent on the website to date, essentially for nothing.

What appears to happen is that the parish council pays the money for someone to put information onto the website. This is something of an absurd revelation. All of this money is wasted.

This must be something of a public question now. The website is almost unbrowseable and, in the view of Bay life, clearly maintained by someone who does not have a modicum of technical ability or understanding of the web or social context of the site.

The web platform should be news based with the information properly structured and delineated in a way that makes the platform both accessible and engaging.

Sadly, the website falls at the first hurdle and has done for 9 years.

If the parish council does not want to live in the 21st century with their communications, then it should hardly be a surprise that the community switches off from the activities of the council.

What should be recognised is that the first point of contact with the parish council is the website for the majority of local residents.

To present an interface that looks as if the council is living in the dark age is not best practice.

The resources necessary to fix the problem are small. An experienced open source web developer, who can work in this kind of context, could create an appropriate platform within a week.

The development of this kind of style contact by the parish council does not require committee meetings sitting in ever decreasing concentric circles and discussions that last for years to make this happen.

The web platform could become a keen source of information, an embedded structure with live social media feeds accessible, working as a lively visual interface with news and useful promotions and talking points.

One day the parish council might discover Twitter and realise that as a news headline tool so much could be levered to the community.

Aa a rough estimate, a state of the art web platform could be implemented within weeks and would make a tremendous difference not just to the delivery of useful news and information to the community, but also to the perception of the council, as a pro-active force for good in the community.

If the parish council has a message which is positive and well thought out (which is clearly does) then it is necessary in 2017 to deliver that message, the way to deliver that message is to deliver a credible web platform.

A wish list is about to be communicated by Pevensey Parish Council, outlined in the meeting held on Tuesday 5 September. The wish list idea is both pro-active and pioneering.

There is a mix of possibilities with short, medium and long terms goals that are both ambitious and far sighted.

The wish list as both a set of ideas and a set of practical possibilities, is interesting. Pevensey Parish Council working for, with, and alongside the community.

In the view of Bay Life, the wish list idea is perhaps an example of best practice with parish councils in East Sussex, that should be promoted far and wide. The wish list idea is of significant potential value not just to this community, but to other communities in East Sussex.

Chairman Daniel Brookbank and Councillor Peter Lowton, who have developed the ideas behind the wish list promotion should be applauded for the thinking.

We have the possibility, perhaps for the first time in a number of years, of seeing radical change in the community that will benefit us all, most importantly, an opportunity for all of us to be engaged in the process.

Sadly, with a website that is so obviously unable to communicate the information, we run the risk of no-one seeing the exciting plan or the progress of the plan with the wish list, which would be such a shame.

If Bay Life had been asked what we would like on the wish list, we would have given a very simple answer.

Fix the website, which has all the technical and visual id hallmarks of a swan vesta box, a pickled onion and a rubber band.

If the website was fixed for the first time, we may actually see the community become engaged with the work of Pevensey Parish Council.

A state of the art web platform, visually dynamic, interactive, embedded with social media and brimming with vitally, and working with ways to engage with the community would be transformative, not just to the work of Pevensey Parish Council, but to the whole community.

If the wish list is the way, then most certainly a way must be found of communicating that message.

In the hands of the clearly able clerk Malcolm Lawson, with his ability to communicate the message, we have a powerful set of possibilities.

A thousand people visiting a new Pevensey Parish Council web platform daily, engaged with the work of the council and the wish list, could be a transformative experience for the community.

Driven by what is now a pro-active parish council, we have the possibility of seeing major change in the way in which the council could be seen by the community.

Bay Life says that clerk to council Malcolm Lawson should be given the tools to do the job.