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Kevin Jump
All round polynerd, webist and wannabe circus act
All round polynerd, webist and wannabe circus act

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(nearly all) Local Council Website homepages on May 5th 2016 - Local Elections, Police & Crime Commissioner, London Assembly (& Mayor) Welsh and Scottish elections.

As a result not all councils are having directly representative elections, but something will be going on.

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Termdates: Lots of councils do really good clear things with term dates, but It's still a frustration to me (and i am sure others) that you have to put the 'schools set their own dates' line on the page-  it effectively says - we are probably wrong you need to go to the school and check - it's a failed task.

I have come close to knocking up some sort of school term date app a couple of times, something all council the school dates could be loaded into so the council site could then display the right dates for your school (with a nice API and widgety things, to make it platform nice:) ) 

I know that some councils have the data, cornwall have a pdf with the dates in somewhere and most education depts have the spreadsheet of inset days. 

The thing that has put me off and makes me unsure if this is a problem that can be fixed is the academy thing. With all schools becoming academies - dates might not even be reported to councils anymore? 

So asking around (i.e here) I suppose the question is do you think education depts are still going to get enough term date/inset information for this to be a problem worth spending some time on? or is it just another victim of councils losing control of the information. (whole aside collating information from area not public body....) 

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I'll give you a clue, i think it is.

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Thinking about making those clean task focused homepages a bit less static.

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UK Council websites, on May 7th 2015 - The homepage only tells half the story, Lots of council's don't look like they are having elections today, and of those that do, the content is often very poor. 
Council Sites - Election 2015
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New localgov websites in august 

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Last week the US Launched it's Digital Services Playbook, on the surface it's just like the GDS Digital Principles, but the way the US Service is set-up leads to some interesting questions (which i then don't address in this blog post - because i am trying to avoid the elephant in the room.... ),

anyway I thought i would start by looking at the differences between the playbook and the principles and seeing if their is anything to learn from what's in or out.

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The guidelines for domains names for local government have been updated. The're not new - they've been around for years. 

but looking at the Naming strategy section  - 

"Registrants must use the appropriate name within, as their primary domain. Use of non-government domains (eg,, .org etc.) must only be for defensive purposes and must be redirected to the primary government domain."

there are a few places where this isn't true and the two sites that spring to mind for me are and - both sites would appear to be in breach of this guideline.

So do we care and does it matter? 

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