Open Source council web site to share
I’m really pleased with what our web team has produced this year. We have replaced our Internet and Intranet sites with minimal costs and delivered something that is as good as I have seen anywhere in Local Government.
Our new site at solihull.gov.uk is:
- User focussed in its design
- Adaptive to mobile devices
- Open Source in its technology
- Transaction oriented
The Intranet site is all that plus:
- Dripping with social media
And all of that for just under £150K for the pair (plus some staff time). That’s £100K on hardware and page authors, £40K on software and £10K on “other” (including a grand total of £4K on consultancy).
At around £75K for our council’s web site, we think that’s excellent Value for Money.
We did all the design, development and testing in house, with a virtual team that included the Customer Contact Service, internal directorates, Communications, ICT and of course, users.
Our design is inspired by other local authority sites we liked and from those doing well in the “Better Connected” review. It was very important for us to have the digital transactions that citizens most commonly use right at the front of the website.
For technical readers, we have gone for the Open Source digital solution Evoq from DNN Software (formerly “DotNetNuke”). Evoq is one of the top five OpenSource web tools available.
We liked DNN because it fits with our .net & C# technical architecture. It also has an option to procure enterprise support, which is important for a small metropolitan borough.
So both sites are live now, and we continue to develop and enhance (the perpetual beta).
We would be delighted to give away everything we have done to anyone else who wants to use it.