Project and Product Lead, Will Callaghan, gives us a rundown of what the latest funding success means for our project and the next phase of our work…
I'm chuffed to announce that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has decided to fund us for another year.
It's a huge vote of confidence in our work, and the 22 councils who've joined us so far. Thank you to DLUHC and everyone who's supported us on our journey.
We're not resting on our laurels. Our Beta report set out three next steps and work starts today.
First, we're going to tackle the challenge our councils mention time and again. They're burdened with countless microsites - satellite sites off their main gov.uk presence. They are made in all sorts of ways, using different technologies. Accessibility, security and UX are often poor. The first a digital team often hears about them is when they're hit by a virus, and no one has the keys or know-how to fix it.
We're kicking off the microsites work early in the new year, and will be procuring a technical supplier via the Digital Marketplace. As with all LocalGov Drupal features, the aim is to give content designers the tools they need to do their job. So, when a request to build a microsite arrives, they're able to easily assess whether the content should be standalone, or sit on the main council website.
If a new microsite is needed, the content designer should be able to create it there and then, using all existing LocalGov Drupal content formats. They should also be able to customise the design to a limited extent themselves, or pull in CSS developed by others.
We know that we’re biting off a lot with this project, but some of our councils have already been thinking about microsites. We've got a good place to start.
Second, we've outgrown the structure of a lead council with other councils collaborating. As such, we intend to create a not-for-profit organisation to maintain and grow what we've built. We also need to establish how the work will be funded long term. More on this in the new year.
Third and finally, there's a skills and time problem in councils that we need to address as a sector. Our 22 councils would like to do a lot more together, but they're hampered in all sorts of ways. There's too much to do with too few people. In our recent survey of LocalGov Drupal councils, 75% said they don’t have enough of the skills they need. Plus it’s hard to bring in new roles, and compete for the right people in a tough marketplace.
We were awarded £400,000 from DLUHC to cover the first two challenges - microsites and creating a not-for-profit. The third one around skills is currently up for discussion. If you've thoughts about how best to skill up councils, please get in touch.
LocalGov Drupal's journey continues into 2022. Thank you all for your support. Have a great Christmas and we'll see you next year.