Lincolnshire councils start sharing services to cut back-office expenses

Councils cut costs by standardising on content management system

Three councils in Lincolnshire are saving money by implementing the same content management system in the first of a planned series of shared services projects.

Lincolnshire County Council, North Kesteven Council and West Lindsey Council deployed the system so that they could benefit from shared content while continuing to retain individual control over what appeared on their websites.

Council officers at Lincolnshire County Council chose Webstructure from software supplier Abacus­Emedia as their content management application before offering it to the seven other local authorities in the county.

North Kesteven and West Lindsey district councils were the two that chose to adopt the system, in part because their own systems were no longer fit for purpose.

The web services manager for both authorities, Jackie McGeachie, said, "The website was primarily an information website. To offer transactional facilities to our customers, meet various government standards and meet accessibility requirements, it was recognised that we would need to move to a new content management system."

Using the system, the two district councils are able to change the front end of their websites without changing the back-office processes that all three councils use in the same way.

Innovative approaches to using and developing the system and other ideas have also been shared between the councils.

McGeachie said, "North Kesteven originally assisted West Lindsey with content provision for us to swiftly enhance our current information and we have then tailored this for our own use. This saved us considerable development time and enabled us to plan a short implementation timescale.

"We have subsequently been able to assist North Kesteven with the development of its site, and have now moved to a shared service to realise even greater efficiencies."

The joint AbacusEmedia implementation is the first in a series of shared services projects planned by the Lincolnshire Shared Services Partnership.

The partnership started at the beginning of November after the chief executives of the local authorities in Lincolnshire agreed that they needed to begin sharing services to meet central government cost-­saving targets.

Under the partnership, the eight councils in the county will put systems in place to increase capacity, share services and transform the services that they provide directly to the public.

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