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Lake County Website Policy

Date Adopted:  May 13, 2008

Effective Date: May 13, 2008

Policy Superseded: None

The following County Website policy shall be applicable to any web content on the County’s public internet site(s). This policy shall not apply to the public Website maintained by the 19th Judicial Circuit nor the County’s employee Website(s).

Section 1 – Findings

The Lake County Board hereby finds that these guidelines are necessary and intended to set forth the County’s policy governing content and links to be permitted on a County Website.

These guidelines are not intended to create any rights guaranteed by existing law, nor waive any defenses or rights available to the County.  In establishing and maintaining County Website, the County does not intend in any manner to create or designate a Public Forum or other means by which unfiltered public discourse, exchange of opinions and ideas, or discussion on issues of any nature may occur. 

Section 2 – Delegation of Authority

The Lake County Board hereby delegates its full authority to create, maintain, change, and/or abolish a Website on behalf of Lake County to the County Administrator consistent with provisions of this policy.

Section 3 - Definitions

Throughout this policy, the singular may be read as plural and the plural as singular.   The following terms shall have the following definitions:
a. “Application” shall refer to a computer program that collects or supplies information/data from or to a data repository.

b. “Content Manager” shall refer to the person who has been authorized by the Department Head to maintain, update, and add content to the County Website.

c. “County” shall mean Lake County, Illinois, its board members, departments, divisions, agencies and employees.

d. “County Domain Name” shall mean a series of unique names that identify a County Website. 

e. “County Administrator” shall refer to the individual who is appointed by the Lake County Board to the top administrator position in the County organization.

f. “County Website” shall mean the County’s public web pages hosted on one of the County’s web servers with a County Domain Name.

g. “Department” shall mean any Lake County department or agency that posts content to the County Website.

h. “Department Head” shall refer to the individual who is head of a County department, or elected agency.

i. “Elected Officials” shall mean the offices of the Circuit Court Clerk, Coroner, County Clerk, Recorder of Deeds, Sheriff, State’s Attorney, Treasurer and the 19th Judicial Circuit Court.

j. “Enterprise Navigation” shall mean navigation (menus, pages, links) that are accessible throughout the Website.

k. “External Links” shall mean a hyperlink on the County Website to a Website maintained by another party, which must be approved as per the Website policy.

l. “Internal Link” shall mean a hyperlink on the County Website to a page that exists on the County Website.

m. “Lake County Website Template” shall refer to the web page header, footer, and left side bar menu for use throughout the County Website.

n. “New Information” shall refer to any new pages or content added to the County Website.

o. “Public Forum” shall mean an event wherein a County Website is available to members of the public for free and open discussion or debate of political or social issues.

p. “Public Health, Safety and Welfare” shall mean the protection and well-being of the general public.

q. “Uniform Resource Locator (URL)” shall mean the specific location or address of material on the Internet.

r. “Update” shall refer to the maintenance of existing information on the Website.

s. “Website Style and Standards Guide” shall refer to the colors and fonts, writing and other formatting to create continuity within the County Website.

Section 4 - County Website Limited Purpose

The limited purpose for the County’s Website is to provide online government services, education and access to information regarding County services, meetings, programs, activities, policies, documents, and facilities provided by the County that promote the community’s public health, safety and welfare.  County Website content and links shall be consistent with the County Website’s Limited Purpose.

Section 5– Permitted Links

The County will provide an external link from the County Website to another Website in accordance with the following guidelines:

a. Shall assist the County in fulfilling its stated County Website Limited Purpose and be consistent with this policy.

b.   Shall have a natural affinity and logical nexus to information provided on the County’s Website and be consistent with County goals, policies and the County Website Limited Purpose.

c.  Shall be to a Website that is managed in a professional manner (i.e., fully operational and available most of the time).

d. The link is to a: 

Governmental agency or governmental organization, or special purpose district which provides information related to the County Website Limited Purpose. 
Lake County Partners and local chambers of commerce.
Public safety related Website, including hospitals. 
Educational facilities, such as libraries, museums, schools and universities.
Professional Associations that have a natural affinity and logical nexus to information provided on the County’s Website
Section 6 –Permitted Content

The content of material placed on the County’s Website shall be consistent with the Limited Purpose of the Website stated in Section 4 herein.  All decisions on the content of material placed on the County’s Website shall be made by the County Administrator or his/her designee in strict compliance with the guidelines of this Policy.

Section 7 - Process for Link Requests

a. To request posting an external link to the County Website, except if the link is to an official government Website (federal, state or local), the requestor (including employees) shall submit the applicable URL, site description, site purpose, contact name, phone number and e-mail address to: 

Lake County Communications
18 North County Street – 9th Floor
Waukegan, IL 60085-4355
Communications@lakecountyil.gov

b. When a request for a link is received, the Website will be reviewed to determine if it is consistent with this policy as a permitted link.  The County Administrator or his/her designee shall have sole discretion to reject or approve any requested link.

c. The requestor will be notified of the County’s decision regarding the requested link.

d. Websites that are currently linked from the County’s Website will be reviewed during the transition to the new Website to verify that the linked Website is in compliance with this Policy.

e. The County reserves the right to limit the number of links from any County Website section or page category.

f. Links to other Websites are provided for convenience and information only. Lake County assumes no responsibility for their content and does not endorse these web sites or their organizations. Lake County reserves the right to remove links to other Websites at any time and without notice. Please read the Terms of Use (Sec. 14) statement for additional information.

Section 8 – Process for New Application Requests and Changes to Existing Applications

a. Departments requesting new applications or changes to existing applications, changes to page/site architecture, enterprise navigation, and/or Quick Links to the home page, shall be submitted to: 

Information and Technology Web Development
18 North County Street – 8th Floor
Waukegan, IL 60085-4355
msinternetadmin@lakecountyil.gov

The request shall include a description of the application the requestor is seeking to add, along with a contact name, phone number and e-mail.

b. Requests for new applications and changes to existing applications will be reviewed to determine if it is consistent with this policy - as permitted content - and prioritized against the other requests. The County Administrator or designee shall have the sole discretion to reject or approve any requested content material.

c. The requestor will be notified of the County’s decision regarding the requested application.

Section 9 Content Material

9.1 Role and Responsibilities of Content Manager
a. Department Heads shall designate one or more Content Managers to be responsible for maintenance of their respective content material to assure accurate and timely information is posted to the County Website.  The County Administrator reserves the right to remove content material he/she concludes is not being properly maintained.

b. Authorized Content Managers shall have the authority and ability to change, add or delete content material for their respective departments using the content management software supported by the County. This excludes video files (see section 9.3) and external links (see Sec. 7.0).

c. Content Managers shall be trained or demonstrate their proficiency/skill on use of the content management tool.

9.2 Authorization Process
a. Each department shall develop and implement a review and authorization process within the department.

b. All updates and new information shall be approved by the Department Head, or his/her designee, before being posted to the Website.

c. The County Administrator, or his/her designee, will implement a review and authorization process for changes to content material on Enterprise Navigation web pages.

d. The County shall implement a Website Style and Standards Guide in order for web pages on the County Website to maintain consistency and continuity.

9.3 Video Programming
a. Requests for posting existing video files and producing new videos to be placed on the
   County Website shall be submitted to:

Lake County Communications
18 North County Street – 9th Floor
Waukegan, IL 60085-4355
Communications@lakecountyil.gov

9.4 Blogs
Blogs where external users have uncensored access to post material directly to the County Website are prohibited in order to maintain the integrity and accuracy of content and to avoid creation of a public forum.

Section 10 - Accessibility Policy 
The County is committed to providing a Website that is accessible to all visitors including those with disabilities such as vision, hearing and mobility impairments. If users have questions or difficulty accessing a certain page on www.lakecountyil.gov or www.lakecountyil.gov, please contact us by email at webmaster@lakecountyil.gov or by telephone at 847.377.2550.
The following summary of guidelines and goals, based on Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is hereby approved for County Website design:

Simple, consistent page layout and standard navigation throughout the site to assist people with learning disabilities and others who may have difficulty following less organized presentations. 
Use of clear and simple language appropriate for the site's content. 
Text equivalents for non-text elements.  
Information conveyed with color also available without color. 
When another language is used on a page, it is identified by using the "lang" attribute. 
Pages shall be readable without style sheets. 
Pages will be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker. 
 Lake County will make limited use of server-side image maps. If they are used, redundant text links are provided. 
Client-side image maps are provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape. 
Row and column headers will be identified in data tables. 
For data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers, markup is used to associate data cells and header cells. 
Lake County shall have limited use of frames. When used, each frame shall use frame identification and navigation. 
Lake County shall have limited use of client-side scripts and applets. When used, pages shall be functional when scripts, applets or other programmatic objects are turned off or not supported. 
When possible, videos will be captioned and a complete script will be supplied supplemented with descriptions of the visual content. Scripts will be available for audio files. 
Forms will be designed to allow completion by people using assistive technologies. 
A method will be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links. 
When a timed response is required, the visitor will be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.
If a page does not comply with the above guidelines, a link will be provided to an alternative compliant page when possible. The alternative page will be accessible, will have equivalent information (or functionality) and will be updated as often as the inaccessible (original) page. 
Some applications that Lake County offers on its Website are visual in nature and difficult to present in equivalent text pages. Mapping and GIS applications are examples. For these applications, Lake County will present as much information as possible in text format and will offer a contact phone number for questions. 
Lake County will encourage all business partners supplying applications for this Website to meet the above guidelines.

Section 11 Email Policy
11.1 SPAM
Lake County does not approve of SPAM also know as UCE (unsolicited commercial email). Lake County does not send SPAM and it does not act as a relay point for SPAM from other mail servers. To report SPAM problems related to Lake County, send an email to abuse@lakecountyil.gov. Please attach the email in question in order to preserve all headers from the original message and send the message from an email account with a valid reply address.
11.2 Use of Email Addresses
On certain pages on its Website, Lake County requests email addresses. These email addresses are intended to be used for the requested purpose only.
11.3 Mailing Lists
If email addresses are requested for the purpose of being added to a mailing list, Lake County will follow these guidelines:
a. Each mailing list will describe what subscribers will receive and how often messages will be sent.
b. All new subscription requests will be verified either by sending an email message to the subscriber requesting a reply, or by visiting a webpage to complete the subscription.
c. Subscribers can request removal from a mailing list via a webpage or by sending an email to a specific address.
d. A contact telephone number will be provided for each mailing list.
e. If email cannot be delivered to an address, the address will be removed from the mailing list.
f. Lake County will not use a mailing list for any purpose other than what was originally intended.
g. Lake County will not sell mailing lists that it collects to any third party.
h. Lake County will not add an email address to another mailing list other than the one requested.

Section 12 Use of Lake County Logos
If users wish to use Lake County's logos, requests must be submitted to Communications at
847.377.2550 or by email at communications@lakecountyil.gov for further information. Permission must be obtained to use county logos.

Section 13 Privacy Policy
Lake County is committed to protecting individual privacy.  The County provides this policy to explain what information is collected from users and how it is used. To make this policy easy to find, it is available from a link on the homepage and most of the other enterprise pages on the Website. 
This privacy policy only applies to Lake County's Website. If users leave Lake County's Website by clicking on a link, users are then subject to the privacy policy of that Website which is not reviewed, approved or verified by Lake County.
13.1 Statistical Information Collected From Users
When users visit the County Website, Lake County collects and stores statistical information about the visit. The information does not identify what an individual accesses on our Website, but does enable us to produce summary statistical reports. We use the statistical information to help improve the design of our Website and to analyze how web pages are being accessed.
13.2 Information Users Provide to Lake County
Some applications on our Website allow users to enter information on forms so that the County can provide users with a customized response. In this case, the information user’s supply is not recorded or tracked. Examples include forms that request search keywords in order to find specific information or forms where users enter their address or pin number to receive customized information.  Other applications on our Website ask for personal information so that we may respond to the request. This information may be stored in a database which will be accessed by authorized personnel in order to fulfill the request. Examples of personal information collected include: name, address, phone number and email address.
13.3 Use of Collected Information
Information collected from the user will be used for the purpose that was defined when the user made the request. The information may be given to another government agency in order to respond to the request. Lake County does not share the information collected with other outside parties unless the information is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act or by court order or subpoena or it is deemed necessary to release it to an authorized law enforcement agency.
Lake County does not create personal profiles containing information from requests submitted on the County Website. Lake County uses email addresses to respond to inquiries, when possible. The addresses are not used for any other purpose and are not shared with outside parties.
13.4 Use of Cookies
A cookie is a small text file that is stored on the user’s computer. Cookies are used to keep track of important application specific information. If the user does not allow the use of cookies, there may be some applications on the County’s Website that will not function.
13.5 Security
Lake County protects user information. When a visitor is asked to supply certain information online, the web page is secured with the industry standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption. Lake County also protects the personal information that is stored on its web servers. Web servers are kept in a locked room that is only accessible to authorized personnel. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on our Internet servers are strictly prohibited and are punishable under federal or state laws.

Section 14 – Terms of Use
Access to Lake County web sites is provided subject to the following terms and conditions. Please read these terms carefully as use of these sites constitutes acceptance of all of the following terms and conditions:

14.1 Disclaimer of Liability

Neither Lake County, its employees, contractors, nor elected officials shall be responsible or held liable to users of Lake County Websites for any improper or incorrect use of the information described or contained on Lake County Websites. In no event shall Lake County or elected officials or its employees be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement or substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption) however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of this system, even if advised of the possibility of such damage. This disclaimer of liability applies to any damages or injury, including but not limited to those caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus, computer hacker, communication line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, alteration of, or use of record, whether for breach of contract, tortuous behavior, negligence or under any other cause of action.

14.2 Disclaimer of Warranties and Accuracy of Data

Although the data found on Lake County Websites has been produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregate uses of the information. The County and its elected officials provide this information on an "as is" basis. All warranties of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, freedom from contamination by computer viruses or hackers and non-infringement of proprietary rights are disclaimed. Changes may be periodically made to the information herein; these changes may or may not be incorporated in any new version of the publication.

14.3 Disclaimer of Endorsement
Lake County Websites are a distributor of content sometimes supplied by third parties and users. Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, links, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of the County or its elected officials and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the County.

14.4 Disclaimer of External Links
Lake County Websites contain links to other related World Wide Web Internet sites and resources. Lake County is not responsible for the contents or operation of any off-site pages referenced. The user specifically acknowledges that the County is not liable for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other users, links, or third parties and that the risk of injury from the foregoing rests entirely with the user. Links from County web pages on the World Wide Web to other sites do not constitute an endorsement from the County. These links are provided as an information service only. It is the responsibility of the web surfer to evaluate the content and usefulness of information obtained from other sites. Since Lake County Websites are not responsible for the availability of these outside resources or their contents, users shall direct any concerns regarding any external link to its site administrator or webmaster.

14.5 Disclaimer of Duty to Continue Provision of Data
Due to the dynamic nature of the Internet, resources that are free and publicly available one day may require a fee or restricted access the next, and the location of items may change as menus, home pages, and files are reorganized. The user expressly agrees that use of the County’s Websites is at the user's sole risk. The County does not warrant that the service will be uninterrupted or error free. The documents and related graphics published could contain technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. The County and/or its programs may make improvements and/or changes in the information and/or programs described herein at any time.

14.6 Choice of Law
Construction of the disclaimers above and resolution of disputes thereof are governed by the laws of the State of Illinois. The laws of the State of Illinois, shall apply to all uses of this data and this system. By use of this system and any data contained therein, the user agrees that use shall conform to all applicable laws and regulations and user shall not violate the rights of any third parties.

 


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