The publishing platform created by councils, for councils.

Business Case

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.

The impact of LocalGov Drupal on our website and operations has been huge. We've started to see customer focused content and design that allows residents to access services and complete their business far faster than they could before.
Simon Higgins, Assistant Director, Customer and Community Services, Cumbria County Council

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).

 

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. 

Fewer re-developments

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

Within the distribution we also have the facility to create subsites. These are tailored pages within your existing site that means you don’t need to turn to agencies when you need to create additional page types for specific campaigns. A new subsite using LocalGov Drupal could reduce costs by up to 90%. 

We are currently building microsites functionality too, work funded by DHULC. Most councils have many microsites across different platforms,  each with a development, hosting and content admin overhead. As with subsites, this should bring very significant cost savings. 

User research

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.

Accessibility audits

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

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.

 

Example costs 

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.

 

Essential costs

a) Hosting
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.

b) Installation
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.

c) Support
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.

Optional costs

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

 

Membership costs

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

 

Buying LocalGov Drupal as Software as a Service

We don't sell LocalGov Drupal in a bundled way, with code, hosting and support.

Some councils have approached our suppliers for this, and we'll post indicative costs here as we receive them.

 

 

If you would like to find out more or have any questions just drop us a line at hello@localgovdrupal.org. We are always happy to chat about LocalGov Drupal, provide a demo of the platform, or show how councils are using it.

It’s just a no brainer – because you’re saving development time and costs, you’re not having to rethink stuff that’s already engineered. Ultimately, each local authority sees itself as an individual, but we’re all in the same services, the mechanics of it, it’s all the same.