- Government acknowledges the importance of open source and collaborative work between councils as part of the leveling up agenda
- Project awarded £400,000 to build on their work
- 22 councils already sharing the distribution
- Estimates suggest councils could save up to £120,000 per web build
Our ground breaking new project has been awarded £400,000 in continuation funding from the DLUHC Local Digital Fund to continue its work facilitating digital collaboration between local councils.
The LocalGov Drupal distribution allows councils free access to a fully customisable web platform. The platform was designed by councils for councils and puts service users at the very centre of what it does. Councils work together to build enhancements and maintain the distribution.
The collaboration provides opportunities for councils to learn from each other, as they share ideas and best practice. Also, by pooling resources they can make savings on many of the costs associated with new web builds such as user research, licensing and other costs.
Councils using the distribution
The distribution has already helped several councils including Croydon, Brighton and Hove, and Waltham Forest, to create incredible new websites with much enhanced user experience, saving money for vital frontline services in the process. (See below for a full list of councils now using distribution or in the process of moving to it).
So far it’s estimated that the project has saved council tax payers up to £120,000 per web build and projections suggest it will save between £7million and £12million over the next 5 years.
The funding will be used to add additional functionality to the platform and help bring new councils into the project.
This project is vital for the leveling up agenda, giving smaller councils and those on tight budgets access to a fully accessible, best practice distribution, at vastly reduced costs. In turn services users, whether in the North East or London access to the same exceptional digital experience regardless of their postcode.
Melanie Read, Head of Digital Services, London Borough of Waltham Forest, said:
“Waltham Forest saw real tangible benefits from being part of LocalGov Drupal. We were able to reduce our development costs (saving £90K of developers time) & timescales (saving 3 – 6 months).
Freeing up the development time enabled us to focus on added extras we would not have been able to do including; enhanced events, search, content lifecycle work and using features we had not considered.
We now have a far better and easier to use CMS to allow us to democratise content management for smaller edits and we have been able to take back ownership of our code.
Importantly the new site has allowed us to meet the accessibility legislation, in line with our equality and diversity strategy for the wider council.
Being part of the LocalGov Drupal Product Group was a good learning curve in using agile methodologies and gave us the ability to share knowledge.
We are really excited about future iterations of the code including how we can use the directories for mapping place based services and microsites.“
Will Callaghan, Product and Project Lead for LocalGov Drupal, said:
“I'm delighted 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 and work starts today on the areas we’ve received funding for.”
May-N Leow, Head of Local Digital Collaboration Unit and Digital Planning Strategy Lead, said:
"The Local Digital Collaboration Unit is proud to have funded and collaborated with LocalGov Drupal through its alpha and beta phases, as they successfully redesigned services around the needs of the people using them.
The project team, which is led by council officers, embodies our ambitions of working-in-the-open, working collaboratively with other organisations, targeting resources more effectively, and reusing good practice. This is demonstrated by the 22 local authorities and 8 suppliers they now have on board.
We're excited to support the team in its next phase, as they develop additional functionality and move towards a self-sustainable model."
Find out more
For additional material and quotes please email Will on email@example.com
Read Will's blog post on what the funding will mean for our project.
More about LocalGov Drupal
LocalGov Drupal is a community of developers, content designers and digital leaders from local councils across the UK.
We collaborate to develop a best practice, open source website publishing platform that is freely available to all UK councils.
Together we aim to create sector wide digital transformation by developing a shared pool of code, resources, research and expertise.
We’re motivated by a desire to help councils deliver the best possible digital experience for citizens, and reduce the risks and costs associated with council websites.
We want as many people as possible to benefit from this project. We welcome contributions in a variety of forms from inside and outside local government, building on the strength of open source communities both in the UK and beyond.
About the Local Digital Fund
The Local Digital Fund aims to help local authorities implement the Local Digital Declaration by funding digital skills training and projects that address common local service challenges in common, reusable ways.
The Fund was introduced in July 2018 by the then UK Local Government Minister, Rishi Sunak, of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
Blackburn with Darwen, Bracknell Forest, Brighton & Hove, Canterbury City, Croydon, Cumbria, East Hampshire, Hammersmith & Fulham, Havant, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, London Councils, Luton, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Redcar & Cleveland, Sheffield, Tamworth, Waltham Forest, Westminster.