Council Membership and subscriptions
Until April 2023 we request that councils who’d like to join the project simply sign a Memorandum of Understanding - see below on this page.
From April 2023 we will be offering different levels of commitment for councils.
LocalGov Drupal will always remain open source and free for anyone to download and use, but to ensure our financial sustainability we'll be asking councils to pay a voluntary subscription fee.
Choose your level of commitment
The code for the LGD platform is available to take and use as you wish, but the greatest benefits are to be had from participating.
Councils who join the project agree to commit some time to further the aims of the organisation and sign our MoU.
We also ask for commitment from participants with certain skills, including:
- Dedicated developer time
- Management / admin time
- User research
- Product management
There are three levels of commitment for councils:
- Nominate members to the Product and Technical Group
- Join the community on Slack
- Start to help out when you can, that could be building new functionality, testing, or sharing your new user research.
Subscribers pay a fee to Open Digital Cooperative to help keep the project running and pay for product development.
Fees are based on the size and budget of each council.
Subscribers get everything a contributor does plus:
- Nominate a member to our Steering Group to give strategic direction to the open-source project
- Help to formulate our Collective Roadmap
- Receive additional recognition for their support of the project
Members pay the subscription fee and then join our cooperative.
They receive all the benefits of a subscriber plus:
- they have part ownership of Open Digital Cooperative,
- can nominate and vote for members of the Open Digital Cooperative board of directors, and
- vote at the AGMs.
Why we need to charge and what the fees will cover
We encourage councils to work with each other, but they don’t tend to do so without help.
Over the last few years the LGD team has actively encouraged collaboration, onboarded new councils, run show-and-tell sessions, blogged about progress, facilitated working groups to build new features, and more.
The membership fees will cover both these core costs and product development, which was funded by the Local Digital Fund.
How fees are calculated
Our subscription fees are based on the successful scheme run by the Co-operative Council Innovation Network, and are designed to be as equitable as possible.
Fees will be calculated on a sliding scale based on turnover and population, varying from £1000 to £9750 per year.
This means that councils serving smaller populations with smaller budgets don’t pay as much as those with larger budgets. A cap on the overall fee will ensure that larger councils are not unduly burdened.
Benefits of membership
Memberships funding will bring significant benefits to the members involved.
Primarily we hope that councils will see the value in supporting a team to facilitate the collaboration and produce a collective roadmap for feature development based on clear user needs.
Subscribers will also be involved directly in the strategic direction of the platform through the steering group.
Those who become members will also be involved in running the organisation through voting at the AGM and electing board members.
How the process works
We know that your time is precious so the process is designed to be as lightweight as possible.
1. Introductory meeting.
We’ll set up a 45-minute chat with an LGD team member. They’ll give you an overview of the project and products and answer any initial questions you might have.
2. Agree to our Memorandum of understanding and community code of conduct
If you decide to continue on your LGD journey we ask you to agree to our MoU and code of conduct (over email is fine). This just outlines what we expect of councils and what they can expect from us.
3. Skills/team survey
We’ll send you a quick team survey. We can then add all your team members to the relevant channels. e.g. Slack, Product Group session invites, etc.
You’ll then be able to attend meetings and ask our community for support and advice over our well-used Slack channel (it currently has over 450 members).
Once the MoU is signed we’ll work with you to announce that you’ve joined the project over our social and email channels.
5. Invoicing and payment
For those councils who want to become subscribers (and we hope that’s all of you), we’ll then issue an invoice for your subscription fee.
You’ll then be able to apply to sit on our steering group.
6. Technical onboarding
We also offer technical onboarding to help developers get their web build projects up and running. These are usually with our Tech Lead, Finn. It’s always useful to send him any questions in advance so he can prepare for your session.
7. Content onboarding
We also offer a session with our in-house Content Designer, Ben. He’ll be able to answer questions from your users and pass on any feedback you might have about the distribution.
8. Membership decision
For those who’ve paid their subscription fee, there is also the option of becoming a member of our cooperative. This would give you the opportunity to vote at our AGM’s and elect board members.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
The purpose of the MoU is to establish and grow an active group of councils to co-develop, share and maintain open-source Drupal code for our citizen-facing websites.
Wherever possible we will re-use existing knowledge and solutions to avoid duplication of effort.
Through this, we aim to:
- Make it as easy as possible for all citizens, regardless of their community, to access council services, and for councils to provide information to those accessing and with need for their services.
- Share information between councils about the usability and user-response to Components.
- Show how collaboration between councils can work.
This agreement is non binding; all parties agree to follow this agreement in good faith.
We believe in and are committed to the principles of the Local Digital Declaration.
Specifically, we are committed to:
- an open culture that values, incentivises and expects digital ways of working from every member of the project team;
- working in the open;
- sharing our plans and experience;
- working collaboratively with other organisations;
- developing and reusing good practice;
- publishing our work under open source licences.
We agree to maintain a common codebase for the agreed projects and not to keep any improvements to the common codebase private.
We promote diversity in our community and value the input of a plurality of voices.
We want as many people as possible to benefit from this project. We welcome contributions in a variety of forms from inside and outside local government, building on the strength of open source communities both in the UK and beyond.
We take our inspiration from other code sharing organisations and initiatives and recognise we are part of a wider international movement and community.
Intellectual property and licensing
Code and other materials committed to the project will be automatically licensed to the other participants on an agreed open source licence (see “Code Licences” below), but, subject to that licence, each contributor will retain ownership of their copyright and other intellectual property.
As an example: A developer in a council develops some code. That council retains the intellectual property of the code. At the point of publishing the code, it is licenced under the appropriate licence for others to use.
Drupal is released under the GPLv2 (or later version), therefore by default, all Drupal code will be published under GPLv2 (or later version).
Where it is permissible to release under a licence other than GPLv2 or a later version, the product group will agree exceptions to this on a case by case basis.
All hosting of code repositories and testing infrastructure will be on platforms that support open source projects for free (such as Gitlab and Github).
All documentation and other materials will be shared publicly and published under creative commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY) or GPLv2 (or later version).
All code and other materials are provided to the project “as is”. No party bears liability for any contribution. Code and other materials are provided without any warranty or support or other liabilities.
All known bugs and security issues must be disclosed to the other parties in a private and secure manner and in accordance with good practice.
The structure will evolve as the project grows and will always aim to be “good enough for now” to enable it to be fit for purpose.
For now, there are two main groups that form the administrative body:
1. Product Group
2. Technical Group
The Product Group is a group of representatives from all organisations involved, expected to include product managers and technical developers from the Technical Group, representing the collective stakeholders to guide the direction of the product.
The Product Group is responsible for:
- Product governance and process (including this Memorandum of Understanding)
- Setting product roadmap and release dates based on user research
- Release quality standards
- Technical direction and architecture
The Technical Group is a sub-group of committers representing the required technical expertise to resolve rare disputes.
The Technical Group is responsible for:
- Development processes and coding standards
- Git repository hosting
- Security review and maintenance
- Conduct guidelines for committers
- Maintaining the list of collaborators / committers
- Resolving any disputes or issues related to the code
Joining and leaving
New participants may be admitted who are other Public Sector Councils, by agreement from the existing members.
Dispute resolution will be informal at this stage.
Any party may quit at any time without notice, but all parties may retain access to the common codebase in the repository on the basis of the open source licence.
Commitment from Councils
Councils who join the Product Group agree to commit some time to further the aims as outlined in the MoU. The Product Group welcomes commitment from a range of skills, including:
- Dedicated developer time
- Management / admin time
- User research
- Product management
LocalGov Drupal is transitioning from a publicly funded project to a self funded limited company by April 2023.
As part of this, we're asking councils and Drupal suppliers to consider paying membership fees, with amounts based on their ability to pay.
Our code will always remain open source, and free for anyone to download and use. Membership fees will bring additional benefits as outlined in the Business Plan which you can view here.
All public facing functionality should adhere to WCAG 2.1 AA at minimum.
The parties acknowledge that administering, contributing and otherwise becoming involved in the project will involve the processing of personal data about the participants, and therefore agree to comply with all relevant legislation and to establish appropriate practices and procedures.
No personal or transactional data is being stored as part of this project.
Any code that is developed as part of this project will follow the principles of data protection by design and default.
By default, we work in the open:
- Pull requests, product roadmap are all publically accessible.
- Minutes of meetings will be made public.
We aim to blog and tweet regularly about the project to promote it and gain wider recognition amongst councils and the wider public.
We would like to encourage informal gatherings every couple of months.
There is no expectation to provide reports to any participating council, any responsibility to report back will fall to the individual participant on the Product Group.
If you would like to find out more or have any questions just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to chat about LocalGov Drupal, provide a demo of the platform, or show how councils are using it.