LocalGov Drupal secures further funding from the DLUHC Local Digital Fund

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

With 22 councils already sharing the distribution, estimates suggest councils could save up to £120,000 per web build.

A ground breaking new project has been awarded 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 bulbs such as user research, licensing and other build costs.

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 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 upto £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."

*Participating councils

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.


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