Case study - Milton Keynes Council

A new build with an external supplier


Our contract was expiring for our current website, allowing us to respecify and futureproof our requirements.

After a soft market test exercise, we estimated that a build cost of our requirements for a three-year contract would be worth approximately £275,000.

August 2021 - The winning contract came in at £181,200 for the design, build, and development costs, including:

  • Consultation tool application and integration with Gov notify: 
  • up to 20 database/directory developments including design integration from partner directories. We’re currently working with our local CCG and ambulance service to share data across our directories.
  • 2 microsite design and builds (for example,
  • Jobs section integrated within the corporate website
  • Various secure areas for schools and Governors etc.
  • Personalisation: currently in development
  • Advertising integration
  • Inbuilt search optimisation
  • Customer feedback widget design and integration:  live on every page (rate this page)
  • Election’s solution design and integration - including live presentation of results: currently in development.
  • 14 days Drupal; editor, admin, and developer training.

Hosting, annual penetration testing security exercise (PEN), and technical support came in at £21,800 per year.

The winning supplier was Webcurl who submitted the most cost-effective tender to develop a site for us within the Local Government Digital (LGD), framework.

The Beta launched in February 2022. 


Unlike our previous new corporate web builds we now own the website outright, so in theory we will never need to go through a large expensive procurement again.


Pre-procurement we conducted web feedback exercises with staff and customers, conducted a soft market test exercise, and audited our ‘as is’ assets to shape our requirements.

After an auto migration of content for the previous corporate site that took about 5 years to clean, it was decided that all service content pages would be manually migrated to the new site. This was a long-winded meticulous audit process that started (in massive spreadsheets) at the beginning of 2021.

Here is the audit checklist we attached to every page in the old site:

  • Category Name,
  • Path, Generation,
  • Created On,
  • Updated On,
  • Original site page link,
  • Content owned by,
  • Content edited by,
  • How many page views in the last year? If less than 250 views challenge whether info is still relevant or if it needs to be combined with another page. If it’s not, then it won’t be migrated and go to next page,
  • Is this legally required content?
  • Would there be a negative impact on the service (increased phone calls/emails etc) if the page is deleted? If not, log here 'page deleted' and go to the next page,
  • Check page content and add new page content here and also update the existing website (this will also be reviewed and updated prior to migration to the new site).          
  • Check existing content date,     
  • Last update date prior to migration,       
  • Add any notes here,
  • Are there any pdf forms? These will need to be logged and converted to online forms, 
  • Documents and images on this page have been checked for quality and accessibility compliance.  (Paste documents and images here if Excel feature enabled). Add AA at the end of document/image file name to show accessibility compliance,  
  • Check file naming policy compliance,
  • Check and add contact details here. Add clear messages for new ways of contacting us (since Covid),
  • Does this page need to link directly from the service landing page?
  • Suggested improvements. For example, add a new form or directory etc.           
  • list friendly/short URLs required here,  
  • Template type for new website will be added here,
  • Check page content for voice/brand/quality/rewrite,
  • Add new page link here once/if migrated.


Screenshot of a project management tool


This audit process reduced the website size from approx. 2500 to 1500 service pages (after a previous reduction from 5000 pages a few years earlier)

As part of this project, we also build approx. 60 new forms (with processes and integration functionality)

Accessibility is important to us at MKC. We have instant automated quality testing using Silktide and commissioned a manual test of 150 pages with the Shaw Trust.

Customer experience and user research testing has also been a key part of our development. We have a Councillor and staff testing group, and are now starting to test with customers using the beta site.




Directory/database auto migration: to save time we decided to auto migrate all our directories – We are still cleaning this up and it’s still having a minor effect on our search.

Contacts development: we wanted a central way of updating and managing a contacts database also allowing more than one contact component to display on a page. The further plan for this feature is to develop it into a  ‘contact us’ transactional (triage style) and integrated form link.

Fancy templates within site: Image sizing is still an issue for creating better layouts and for adding partner logos etc.

Accessibility compliance: we were hoping for full compliance with all our documents added to the new site, however, in mid-January we realised that this was not going to be fully achieved within the timescale, so we now have a plan to reach full compliance of all our documents by Sept 2022.

Content migration: coordinating and training 70 web editors who also have service commitments. We don’t have any in-house content editors and all our editors are devolved within service roles. 

The introduction of Microsoft365 in summer 2021 made communication and transparency on the project so much easier. We also have face to face training and ‘drop ins’ twice a week when guidance allows.


Key people involved in the project since August 2021


  • Project sponsor; Head of Communications
  • Transformation project manager - 90% of time allocated to the project 
    (Procurement PM, delivery manager, managed 1/3 of content migrations and directories, forms dev manager, research and testing manager)
  • Online library specialist - seconded to the web team until end of March 2022 - 90% of time allocated to the project
    (Managed 1/3 of content migration, directories lead, forms dev lead, UX, and UAT)
  • Digital Communications Manager - 30% of time allocated to the project
    (Managed 1/3 content migration)
  • Business Improvement Officer (housing) - 10% of time allocated to the project
    (Forms dev lead and content design)
  • Communications team x 5 - project quality and web editing
  • 3 part time temporary content writers and testers (1.5 FTE)
  • 70 web editors completed migration audit and trained to use the new CMS
  • IT infrastructure and security support.


  • Director
  • 3 x developers
  • UX designer
  • Project Manager


Outcomes and benefits of MKC working with the LGD framework

The cost of our agency design, build, and development is roughly the equivalent cost of having two in-house developers for 2 years.

Because this is an Open-Source CMS, we haven't had to pay for an overlap in licencing for two sites running together during the design and build stage.

Unlike our previous new corporate web builds we now own the website outright, so in theory we will never need to go through a large expensive procurement again - and are flexible to stay with our current supplier, get support, development, PEN testing and hosting elsewhere (after the initial 3-year contract period), or bring it all in-house. This has been made possible now Drupal 9 (and 8) and onwards is much easier to upgrade than previous versions.

Our new site is now better future proofed for data and sharing - using Open Standards and Open Referral for directories. This makes our data and developments more compatible within the site, and also helps us use data smarter with partners and future technologies.

We are now in an advantageous position to freely share and borrow content and developments without restriction with the other 24 Councils currently using the same CMS system.