5 February 2024 - Cuttlefish Update from Danny Moody

UPDATE  – On 1 February 2024, Cuttlefish announced that it had taken over management and ownership of 2Commune. In some respects, the announcement doesn’t change anything at all but there are two key changes to the guidance in the updates below:


  1. There is now a “do nothing” option. Whereas before, all 2Commune councils needed to do something by 31 March 2024, even if that was just signing up to the new Cuttlefish terms and conditions, now councils only need to do something before the end of their 2Commune renewal date. The do-nothing option simply means that the council’s service will continue as is from 31 March 2024 to the renewal date.
  2. Previously 2Commune had indicated that it would continue with emails and domains, in other words it was only the provision of websites it was giving up. That meant that councils could keep their emails and domains with 2Commune and take their websites elsewhere. Now, councils staying with Cuttlefish/2Commune can keep their whole package – email, domain, and website – together.


Cuttlefish has not indicated what its position is on refunds for those councils who had paid 2Commune for services beyond 31 March 2024 and who wish to transfer to other providers. Parish Online remains the only alternative supplier that has publicly stated that it will only start charging new customers from their 2Commune renewal date, thereby obviating the need for a refund.

31 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

The update this week is that there is no update. There have been no significant development this week, although there are still some questions outstanding, such as the 2Commune refund issue that we continue to work on. I haven't received any options appraisals but will post any I do receive here on this page.

In April we will do a short survey of ex-2Commune customers to find out who everyone went to in the end and will disseminate the results in due course.

This will be the last regular update but any significant developments will be circulated by email. As always, if you have specific questions please continue to get in touch directly.

24 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

Fewer enquiries related to 2Commune have come though to us in the past week as councils diligently consider their options and decide what to do next. The issue is appearing on council agendas and some councils have already made decisions.

If you have prepared an options appraisal for your council meeting and are happy to share it with other councils, please send it through to  dmoody@northantscalc.com  and I will include a link to it in next week’s update.

In terms of outstanding issues, we are still investigating the refund issue as well as the mechanics of email transfer for councils wishing to move their email service away from 2Commune.

The next update will be published on Wednesday 31 January 2024 by 0900.

17 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

This is the first weekly update, following on from the daily updates in “Week 1” (see below).

The situation has now stabilised and for current 2Commune customers the crises is averted. Whatever a council decides to do, there will be continuity of website and email services through 31 March 2024, whereas just a week ago it looked like some councils might not have that.

Whether a council decides to move its website from 2Commune to Cuttlefish, or to Parish Online, or to one of the other suppliers, it is advised to move its email system and domain name too. It looks like councils moving to Cuttlefish will continue to pay the same for emails and domain names, and for councils moving to Parish Online those services are included in the package. Other suppliers have a variety of packages and pricing methods.

Please note that there is NO “do nothing” option. Even councils moving to Cuttlefish need to place an order via the personalised council link that Cuttlefish is sending to each 2Commune customer. It constitutes a new contract for services, and as such must be approved by the council at a meeting having first considered the available alternative options. In other words, councils must DO something, otherwise their website service provided through 2Commune will cease on 31 March 2024.

Please see below for links to Cuttlefish, Parish Online, and other suppliers.

The next update will be published on Wednesday 24 January 2024 by 0900.

12 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

It’s been quite a week.  In summary, 2Commune announced late on Friday last week (5 January 2024) that its website service was ceasing as of 31 March 2024. Working in partnership with Leicestershire & Rutland Association of Local Councils (LRALC), we quickly got on top of the situation and have had multiple meetings all this week with 2Commune, Cuttlefish, Parish Online, and several other suppliers of websites to the parish and town council sector.

The suppliers have responded very quickly and positively, and both Cuttlefish and Parish Online have put together special offers for 2Commune customers (see links to their dedicated web pages below).

Responding to the issue of councils obtaining refunds from 2Commune for services beyond 31 March 2024, Cuttlefish announced last night that it will match Parish Online’s offer and will not be charging hosting for the months prior to a council’s 2Commune renewal date. Therefore, if a council would usually renew annually in July, it will not be charged for April - June 2024 by Cuttlefish.

The news that 2Commune was exiting the website market was shocking for the 79 councils in Northamptonshire that use the service. However, less than a week later, solutions are in place that mean no council will be left in the lurch practically or financially. Councils that liked 2Commune have the option of continuing under the new management of Cuttlefish, and councils looking to take the opportunity to do something different have the equally no-cost, no-hassle option of transferring to Parish Online. Of course, in the coming days or weeks, other suppliers may also offer transfer deals and we will continue to keep you updated.

This was the last daily update. The next update will be published by 0900 on Wednesday 17 January 2024.

11 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

I had a good meeting with the team at Cuttlefish yesterday to talk through the offer that they communicated to 2Commune users on Tuesday and to hear about their plans for the future of parish and town council websites. Cuttlefish confirmed that Tuesday’s message was sent to ALL 2Commune customers, so if you didn’t receive it then it has gone astray.  You’ll find all the same information at  https://cuttlefish.com/local-councils , and if you want to email Cuttlefish to check they have the correct details for your council it is  localcouncils@cuttlefish.com .

I also had a good meeting yesterday with Parish Online, which provides mapping and websites for parish councils. We’ve partnered with Parish Online for many years and worked with them on the Asset Mapping project (AMP) in 2022/23. Following discussions with 2Commune, Parish Online has put together a package for 2Commune customers, which you can find the details of at https://www.parish-online.co.uk/2commune .

Of course, there are also other established website suppliers in the sector, including, but not limited to:

The main outstanding question is how 2Commune intends to deal with refunds for those councils that have already paid for services beyond 1 April 2024. Parish Online is committing to only start invoicing parishes when their old 2Commune subscription expires, which effectively removes all risk for councils of obtaining a refund, but for those transitioning to Cuttlefish and others, the refund question remains. We will hopefully have more on this in the coming days.

A further update will be posted tomorrow by 0900.

10 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

Yesterday, Cuttlefish confirmed in writing to all 2Commune customers that it will provide website services from 1 April 2024 and that parish and town councils would need to contract directly with Cuttlefish.  Whilst that news eases the pressure of the 31 March 2024 deadline, we need to understand more about the Cuttlefish offer.  For example, will it offer email and domain name services as well as websites, and what are its longer-term plans for parish and town council websites. Consequently, I have a meeting at 1000 today with Cuttlefish to explore those and other issues and I will report back to you.

In terms of alternatives to Cuttlefish, I had a number of supplier meetings yesterday and there are some potentially exciting offers being discussed from website suppliers who are already active in the sector.  Discussions are ongoing and I expect to be able to share more information by the end of the week.  Consequently, member councils are advised to wait and to not make any firm commitments with suppliers for the time being.

A further update will be posted tomorrow.

9 January 2024 - 2Commune Update from Danny Moody

Yesterday was mostly spent trying to understand in detail the news from 2Commune and what the implications are for member councils. Working in partnership with colleagues at the Leicestershire & Rutland Association of Local Councils (LRALC), we were able to have meetings yesterday with 2Commune, Cuttlefish, and Parish Online. Now we can begin to think about next steps and what options councils have post 31 March 2024.

The big headache from a council’s point of view is the cessation of website service from 2Commune as of 31 March 2024, which means that a lot of work would have to be undertaken in a short space of time to get ready for 1 April 2024. However, if Cuttlefish intends to supply direct to councils, which seems to be the case, then that removes the looming deadline altogether because a council’s 2Commune website would just continue to operate seamlessly under Cuttlefish. A priority for the rest of this week is to understand exactly what Cuttlefish intends to do, and on what terms.

If Cuttlefish does supply direct, we understand that it would be a new supply contract. In other words, your council’s contract with 2Commune for website services (not necessarily domain name and email services) will end on 31 March 2024. Therefore, if your council has paid 2Commune for website services post 1 April 2024 you may need to seek a refund.

One thing that happened yesterday that we hadn’t predicted was that we were contacted by five or six potential website suppliers. Whilst it is always useful to know what the supplier market is, we do not see this as an opportunity for new market entrants. The parish council website supply market is already well-established with existing trusted suppliers already active. Later, we will be putting together a list, but not until we understand the offer from Cuttlefish.

In terms of actions for councils, definitely put an item on your next available agenda to brief the council and think about next steps. Final decisions will probably be made in February or March 2024, but the sooner your council starts talking about it, the better. And if you haven’t done so already, dig out your 2Commune paperwork and latest invoice to see when you have paid up to with 2Commune and which services you are paying for (website, emails, domain name).

More news will follow tomorrow by 0900.

8 January 2024 - Q&A following meeting with 2Commune

Q1: How many local councils in England use 2Commune?

A1: Approximately 400, 79 of which are in Northamptonshire.

Q2: Which counties is 2Commune active in?

A2: Mainly in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, and Gloucestershire.

Q3: What is the relationship between 2Commune and Cuttlefish?

A3: Cuttlefish is a shareholder in and supplier to 2Commune.  Cuttlefish provides the technology that 2Commune resells to parish and town councils.

Q4: Does Cuttlefish intend to supply direct to the market?

A4: It appears this might be the case. We hope to be meeting with Cuttlefish in the next day or two to discuss.

Q5: If so, how would that work in terms of councils’ content, domain name, and email?

A5: Cuttlefish hosts a council’s website and all its content, so if a council transferred to Cuttlefish direct then our understanding is that the website would continue to function.  A council’s domain name (web address) and email system are hosted by 2Commune, and for the time being 2Commune has said it will continue to offer those services.

Q6: The content of a local council’s website belongs to the local council.  Is that correct?

A6: Yes.

Q7: If a local council wishes to transfer to a new supplier, is there an easy way to transfer the web content, in terms of pages, documents, and CRM info?

A7: Page content can be cut and pasted from a 2Commune website into another website, and images and documents would need to be saved down   from the 2Commune website and uploaded to the new website.  Coincidentally, Northants CALC went through this process last year when we   transferred to our new website, so we will offer tips and tricks in due course.

Q8: Does 2Commune intend to publish any guidance on “How to move your site to a new supplier”?

A8: There are no plans to do so at this stage.

Q9: We’ve already paid 2Commune for our website beyond 1 April 2024.  Will we get a refund?

A9: It is not clear yet what the financial situation is, and it might depend on whether a council transfers from 2Commune to Cuttlefish direct.  We will provide further information in due course.

Q10: If you were a local council, what would you do?

A10: Nothing yet.  Wait to see what unfolds in the next few days and what comes of the conversations we are having with 2Commune, Cuttlefish, and others.  A council could immediately start looking for an alternative supplier, but there are too many unknowns as of today – 8 January 2024 – to know whether that is the best move.  We will know much more by this time next week.

You can download the above Q&A as a PDF here: 

08 January 2024 - 2Commune Update: Email from Danny Moody

I am writing following the news from 2Commune on Friday that it will not be able to supply your website after 31 March 2024. As you can imagine, this is significant and very disappointing news for the parish sector as 2Commune supplies web sites to many hundreds of parish councils across the country. First and foremost, I feel sorry for Ray Smith and Tina Britt at 2Commune, which has been a trusted supplier to parish and town councils and to Northants CALC over very many years. They have always provided good service and I am led to believe that this matter is out of their control. I wish them all the best for the future.

I am meeting Ray and Tina this morning at 0900 to find out more and will provide an update including an options appraisal by 12 noon today via a new dedicated web page at  www.northantscalc.com/2commune . I will post an update on that page by 0900 every day this week, and then by 0900 every Wednesday for the rest of the month. That way, you don’t need to email me to find out the latest news, you can just visit the web page. Of course, continue to get in touch if you have specific questions.

I don’t think you will need it, but as a backstop, rest assured that Northants CALC will provide you with the facility to post statutory notices on our web site if needs be in order to comply with any statutory requirements. As I say, I don’t think it will come to that, but I just wanted to allay any concerns that parish councils will not be able to comply with their statutory publication requirements.

Thanks to the clerks that alerted me to this over the weekend and I will provide more information via www.northantscalc.com/2commune by noon.