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Don’t hold your breath – although an RFP has been issued and bids are due by September 1st, 2015, the new site would not come on-line until July 2016.  The requirements are mostly routine – basically it must include all the Town’s information, it must meet accessibility specs, it must be responsive (work well on mobiles) and mostly be updated by Town Staff.  But in the end, it will only be good if the chosen vendor knows how to make an attractive, useful, easy to navigate web site and that’s hard to write into a specification.  But there are some surprises.

The draft Communications policy said:

  • The website is not a forum for commenting on municipal issues and services but will provide contact information to easily access municipal officials.

But despite this, the site specification requires (amongst other things) that it:

  • Integrate a submission tool for users to submit comments/ complaints/ questions;
  • Include a forum capability for residents and the Town to pose questions and post answers;

There are difficulties managing a forum but the provision for accepting comments/ complaints/ questions is a welcome addition.  With the withdrawal by John Henderson of the first try at a Communications Policy, the next version will no doubt be revised to be in line with this spec. More on the withdrawn communication policy here.

One other provision, that some information (pages) can have restricted access, means that the site can also serve as the Intranet which is specified as a Strategic plan action: Introduce a Town-wide Internal Communication System. That’s an efficient approach.

Let’s hope that the end result is in fact an improvement – let’s not have a repeat of the fiasco of the Waterfront Festival web site.

Download the Full RFP here (while the document is still on the Town’s web site)

Update, October 19 2015

The Agenda for the meeting of the Committee of the Whole on Oct 19 implied that an award of the tender would be made but evaluation has not been completed so no award was made.  The process is down to 3 finalists from 11 bids.

 

 

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