Costs and 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 saving money on 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).

Councils spend an average £120k on building a new website, while LocalGov Drupal councils typically spend £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. The time to launch a website is also quicker with commensurate savings. 


Fewer re-developments

LocalGov Drupal is designed to avoid costly ‘big bang’ launches every few years to keep your site updated 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 (nonproprietary) and, as such, doesn’t come with a fee. 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 charge additional fees for changes, such as creating new page templates. Compare this with the time you spend 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. It will allow for multiple sites on the same instance and reduce the need for third-party involvement, giving web teams greater control.


User research

We're led by user data and have an evidence-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 is 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.


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.

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.


Basic costs

a) Hosting
Councils have hosted LocalGov Drupal on AWS and Azure, and hosting costs are about the same as those of their current websites.

If you don't have cloud hosting, you'll 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. This can be done 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, and we provide updates to LocalGov Drupal. These updates mostly feature upgrades and brand-new functionality, and you can choose whether or not to install them. 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 various 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 subscription page.


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