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Is a parish council, if it so wishes, legally allowed to appoint (and manage accordingly) a professional 3rd party organisation to build, maintain and manage a Parish Council website. 

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Our Clerk states “Because the Parish Council is required to maintain a website to be compliant with various legislation, it is important that its maintenance is handled by the Parish Council.

While other Parish Councils have used a third party to develop the framework for their websites, they still populate and maintain it themselves”

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Is there any legal obstacle though, that is my question. 

I accept that keeping the ‘control’ with the Clerk and their office (so long as they are capable and adequately resourced to keep it in synch and up to date) does seem the right way to go. 

by (210 points)

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I served as locum for a council that had outsourced its website to a local IT company. It was very challenging in terms of deadlines for uploading documents, especially over Christmas and the New Year when the company shut down for a fortnight.

All of the leading providers of local council websites provide a framework within which the Clerk, or another appointed person deals with the day-to-day content management.
by (53.6k points)
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Yes….

No…..
by (21.8k points)
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There's no legal restriction on a parish council contracting with a third party to build, maintain and manage a parish website but I would certainly argue that it is the Clerk's responsibility (in most cases) for documents that are required to be uploaded to the website to be done when required and for those documents to be accessible etc. in accordance with legislation.  So, for example, would your contractor be able to/obliged to upload an agenda and supporting papers (which of course your clerk would be producing) so that the documents are available three clear days before your meeting?   These days uploading documents to a properly constructed website is not onerous and should, I believe, be part of the job description of your clerk.
by (19.6k points)
Thank you, that's really helped.
You could ask any prospective web developer to demonstrate their Content Management System (CMS) to assure yourself it is suitable for you. If you did require your developer to upload documents for you, there is usual a prohibitive cost for doing so.

Its worth also ensuring that the website is 'secured' using https. It's the norm these days although some developers will tell you it's not required. A .gov.uk domain will require it anyway.

HTH

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