Costs & Savings
LocalGov Drupal is a community of developers, content designers and digital leaders from local councils across the UK.
We collaborate to develop best practice, open source websites that are freely available to all UK councils.
Our motivation is to help councils deliver a better digital experience for their citizens while at the same time saving money for vital frontline services.
Costs with LocalGov Drupal
We reduce costs by working together to develop a shared pool of code, resources, research and expertise. We estimate that using LocalGov Drupal will reduce the cost of building a new council website by up to 80% (depending on the extras a council wishes to add).
Councils spend on average £120k on building a new website. LocalGov Drupal councils are typically spending £20k to £60k.
Councils also receive functionality that’s benefitted from £500k worth of DLUHC investment.
Areas of cost saving
Lower development costs
You’ll have complete control over your site, so there is less need to rely on (and pay) external organisations to add new features. Member councils have seen £40,000 - £100,000 saved on developer costs. Time to launch a website is also speeded up with commensurate savings.
LocalGov Drupal is designed to avoid costly ‘big bang’ launches every few years to keep your site up to date with the latest standards and functionality.
New features and upgrades are free
When you join LocalGov Drupal you’ll become part of a UK wide network of expertise. We are a community of developers, content designers and digital managers working within UK local government who collaborate to improve and enhance the product, while maintaining its stability.
No licence fees
The software we use is open source (non proprietary) and as such doesn’t come with a fee attached. LGD can replace existing licences for content management systems, directories, simple form builders, and other functions.
No change request fees
Most web platforms under licence will also include additional fees to changes, for example to create new page templates. Compare this with time spent engaging with us and keeping your installation updated.
Building and maintaining Subsites and Microsites
Most councils have many microsites across different platforms, each with its own development, hosting and content admin overhead.
Using our Microsites Platform will bring significant cost savings as it will allow for multiple sites on the same instance and reduce the need for third-party involvement, giving greater control to web teams.
We're led by user data and have an evidenced based approach. Joining LocalGov Drupal means you don’t need to spend money on user research to create features that we already provide. Councils have saved up to £15,000 on user research for new site builds.
Our base theme is WCAG AA and easily customised by a front end developer, providing fully accessible websites. All new features that are released are also fully compliant.
Reduced service demand
With pooled user research and best practice accessibility as standard, LocalGov Drupal helps to reduce demand on customer services with citizens more easily able to access and use online services. The ease of use comes from:
- Best practice page formats based on user research
- AA rated accessibility
- Mobile responsive page templates
Cumbria council compared Liberty Create contact volumes for Births, Marriages and Deaths pre and post launch: They found:
- Contact volumes are down 21% of the total (was 404 calls and emails, now 334)
- Time spent 25% down (the average time was 5m12, now 3m55)
- Potential saving of £33,000 pa with LGD and content design approach
Together with changes in content and improved site structure, councils can provide a superior digital experience for citizens and reduce the demand on customer services.
What you spend needs to be tailored to your council. From our experience the minimum spend can be very little.
For example, if your council already has cloud hosting with support arrangements, you could start with LocalGov Drupal for as little as £1k.
Councils have hosted LocalGov Drupal on AWS and Azure, and hosting costs are about the same as their current websites.
If you don't have cloud hosting, you will need to find a supplier for this. Expect to pay between £7k - £15k per year depending on the size and complexity of your website. For recommendations, please check our suppliers page. We're adding new suppliers all the time.
Ideally, you need a developer with Drupal expertise to install LocalGov Drupal for you. This can be done very quickly, typically in a few hours, so set aside around £1k for this.
If your council has developers, we provide step by step instructions for them here.
Drupal needs to be patched at intervals, plus we provide updates to LocalGov Drupal. These are mostly feature upgrades and brand new functionality, and you can choose whether or not you install these. Support costs are typically £150 per month.
The lowest support prices we've seen to date are from Cumbria (see case study). They hired a Drupal contractor to set up cloud hosting, install LocalGov Drupal and provide ongoing support.
Councils have chosen to add to LocalGov Drupal in a variety of ways. All of this is optional, and dependent on your council's needs.
- Cumbria spent £8.5k on child theme to sit on top of the LocalGov Drupal base theme. This involved creating web branding, based on Cumbria's logo and fonts, and creating the necessary CSS files.
- Cumbria also invested in content design, to rewrite existing content rather than lifting and shifting what they had. See the Cumbria case study for more details.
- Waltham Forest added significant new functionality including Solr search - see the Waltham Forest case study.
Subscriptions and membership
We have set up a not-for-profit cooperative to support and develop LocalGov Drupal.
Our code will always remain open source, and free for anyone to download and use.
Subscription and Membership fees to Open Digital Cooperative will bring additional benefits to councils as outlined on the Council Membership page.
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.