Municipal Internet Resources

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I’m disgusted that the minutes of the 2007/01/31 LTC meeting are still not yet available on their website for public scrutiny. It’s been more than a year since I complained to the LTC about this, and there appears to have been no improvement at all.

I also had reason to visit the London Public Library’s site recently in order to review their past minutes. And I regret that the amount of information to be gleamed from such exercise can only charitably be described as ‘spartan’ at best.

Part of the reason for my renewed interest in this subject was the response that I got from a recent request that an announcement about the upcoming meeting of the Glen Cairn & Pond Mills Community Association be posted on the City of London website.

According to Mr. Tom Johnson (City of London, Director Management Support, Audit and Risk Management), “It is not our practice to place such announcements on our web site. While we agree they are matters of community interest, we do not currently have the resources to accommodate all such requests.

Not one to be dissuaded easily, I pursued my request with Mr. Johnson:

Q. When you say “our practice” who are you referring to? Was the decision to reject our announcement a personal one, some other member of staff, or is there an official Council policy which defines what can or cannot appear on the city website?

A. In terms of meetings the only information provided via the City’s website are our own public meetings and occasionally major informational/consultative sessions of Boards and Commission such as the Public Library, London Police Service and London Fire Services… the linking guidelines are an administrative matter – not official Council policy. However, the gist was certainly covered in a document Council received when the City launched a redesign of its website in July 2000.

Q. What resources (human, financial, and otherwise) have been allocated for the city website, and who is responsible for it?

A. The day-to-day management of the City’s website is the shared responsibility of Corporate Communications and the Technology Services Division supported by the content creation and page maintenance of authors throughout the corporation. There are no totally dedicated staff resources – web operations are handled as part of a wide range of individual job responsibilities.

Q. While I think of it, perhaps you can tell me why there’s no link to the Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre on your Culture & Recreation page under the “Community Centres” heading?

A. The linking guidelines that apply to the City of London (presented below) were developed as an administrative policy/procedure for the staff of Corporate Communications and the Technology Services Division who are responsible for the management of the http://www.london.ca site.

External/reciprocal links

Links on the http://www.london.ca home page (with the exception of an occasional banner or image caption or short-term, left-hand menu item) are to third-level content of the corporate website.

The City of London has provided 2nd level menu page links to the websites in the following categories:

  • City of London Boards and Commissions, e.g., Tourism London, Covent Garden Market, Museum London, London Convention Centre and Middlesex-London Health Unit.
  • Municipal Advisory Committees or their sub-committees – for instance the accessibility and pesticides sites developed for educational/awareness purposes.
  • Primary authoritative resources such as the Chamber of Commerce, District School Boards, Fanshawe College, The University of Western Ontario, London Health Sciences Centre, etc. that provide broad information about the community and/or its key services not only for existing residents but also prospective businesses, convention planners, etc. For all of the foregoing “external” organizations there is also an affiliation element in terms of working relationships and/or funding support.
  • Partnership initiatives such as EnerGuide – these “partner” sites are often hosted on the City’s servers and have URLs reflecting the municipal domain naming convention. Other website links in a partnership category of “working relationship and/or financial/in-kind support” include The Medical Hall of Fame, MainStreet and the Grand Theatre.

Partnership initiatives such as EnerGuide – these “partner” sites are often hosted on the City’s servers and have URLs reflecting the municipal domain naming convention. Other website links in a partnership category of “working relationship and/or financial/in-kind support” include The Medical Hall of Fame, MainStreet and the Grand Theatre.

While I am not at all happy about the decision to not allow announcements of upcoming Community Association meetings, I do appreciate Mr. Johnson’s quick replies. And I particularly appreciate the following:

Also please note that Council recently approved a new customer services initiative including reviewing our web strategy and I will bring forward your request for consideration by that group to see if we can accomodate such requests in the future.

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