Support for Councils and Clerks

After a successful pilot during the second half of 2023 we are now opening this new service to all members. This offers your Council a gov.uk domain name of your own, website and unlimited email addresses for all councillors and staff.

This service is directly managed by us and we have partnered with a domain host who has been established 15 years and whom already host 400+ local councils and are also used by other County Associations throughout the UK.

Why should we use a gov.uk domain name?

Guidance from government, National ALC and JPAG is that local councils should have their own domain name and email services, preferably on a gov.uk domain name.

Using our service with a gov.uk domain name:

  • Demonstrates your official local government status – Registrations are manually verified and are only available to government organisations
  • Helps to build trust, credibility and visibly demonstrates authenticity
  • Offers unlimited email accounts for your councillors as well as for your Clerk and other officers
  • Provides the ability to control email accounts by removing councillor/officer access when they leave
  • Means emails are more likely to be cleared by security/spam filters
  • May improve your websites search engine ranking
  • Greatly helps with Freedom of Information requests and means personal email accounts won’t need to be searched so personal/family data is not put at risk of disclosure
  • Fulfils best practice outlined in the JPAG Practitioners’ Guide and by government and National ALC

What is wrong with using free email addresses?

Whilst free email address can be quick and convenient to setup they have some disadvantages:

  • These can be setup linked to the clerks personal email address and/or mobile phone number, thus causing issues if the clerk moves on. Councils often create a new email address when this happens and extra work is required to update your website, contacts, memberships and suppliers etc
  • Free email addresses can be setup by anyone – there are often minimal or no checks on who creates them – a vexatious resident could attempt to impersonate the council or it’s officers
  • If Councillors use free email addresses then typically they set them up themselves, thus the Council has no control over their use should the Councillor leave the Council 
  • Free email addresses typically do not use a domain name owned by the Council, such as gmail.com or outlook.com and thus look somewhat unprofessional and do not demonstrate your official local government status

What is included?

Our service includes the following:

  • Your own gov.uk domain name, owned by your council
  • WordPress based WCAG 2.1 AA compliant website. Based on our Norfolk Parishes platform, but with a new look coming in 2024. With unlimited storage and bandwidth
  • Unlimited email addresses with each mailbox 10GB in size
  • Domain registration and email addresses all managed by us
  • Direct support for the clerk to access their new email address
  • Written instructions and instructional videos for Councillors to access their email
  • Our Fully Managed Content Service can also copy the content of your existing website from another provider if need be (at additional cost)

Watlington Parish Council was delighted to be one of the first Councils selected for the '.gov pilot scheme'. Initially, we all felt a little daunted at the thought of changing systems, but we needn't have. With Kevin's help and informative guides, the process was very straightforward and we are all loving the simplicity and security of the new system. The email addresses, each with identical Council signatures, are now professional and equally proficient for the Members serving this tier of Government.

How much does it cost?

We want as many Councils in Norfolk to benefit from the above features as possible so have priced our service as competitively as we can to provide you the best value for money:

  • Gov.uk domain name registration: £112 + VAT for 2 years (so effectively £56 + VAT per year)
  • Norfolk ALC administration charge: £70 per year

Even better, if you are an existing Norfolk Parishes user you can transfer to this new service for no additional administration charge, so you pay the gov.uk domain registration then continue to pay £70 per year for our services – the same low price as Norfolk Parishes.

Do you have a Wix website you wish to retain?

No problem, if you pay for a Wix subscription you can use your new gov.uk domain name with your existing Wix site and we can help set this up. Unfortunately this option isn’t available to free Wix website users, only paid plans. 

Please note the following

  • This service is currently offered to Norfolk ALC members only
  • The gov.uk domain can only be registered with the contact details of a paid officer (eg not a councillor) and this contact detail will be publicly visible on the domain name records
  • Payment in full must be received before your domain name can be registered and any work starts
  • Only councils who do not use a .gov.uk domain name at present are eligible for this pricing
  • Our service does not provide Microsoft 365 (you can use the email within Outlook, if you have it)
  • If you have an existing Norfolk Parishes website it will be moved to this new service at no additional administration charge

Join now

If you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact us on it@norfolkalc.gov.uk

If you are ready to join please complete the form below and we will be in touch soon to get started. 

Please note – if you signed up for our pilot service but were not selected to participate you will need to sign up again below.