Web initiative kicks off overhaul of document management systems
Stockport Council has spent £100,000 rationalising its website as the first project in a series of IT initiatives to improve its electronic content and document management systems.
The IT department spent 12 weeks rationalising the website’s content in preparation for larger projects to rationalise content on the council intranet and publish content through digital interactive television.
The council said, “The priority was to enhance the council’s website not only to provide services directly to citizens, but to support the contact centre and face-to-face contact.”
Before the rationalisation of the website, both the public and contact centre staff had reported difficulties navigating the site, which had grown to more than 7,000 pages of information.
Stockport Council said it began the site rationalisation process by giving service heads responsibility for their own site content to help ensure that the project was supported throughout the council.
Each front-line service had to nominate a representative, who was tasked with ensuring that their service’s content fitted within the website’s new framework. Pages that the service representatives failed to convert to the framework were scrapped.
To ensure that the website would be rationalised within the 12-week deadline, the service representatives were told that any late content would be excluded.
The council said, “There were problems with the [old] website. One problem was ownership. The site was seen by many people working in front-line services as something that the ICT service did for them, or in some cases to them.”
The rationalisation was one of the first IT projects undertaken by the council using the Prince 2 project management methodology. There were weekly project team meetings at which all council services were represented, including human resources, internal audit and the marketing and communications unit.
HR was included because the project may have involved changes to employee working practices or responsibilities, and the marketing and communications unit was there to help encourage staff support for the project. The internal auditor was appointed to be a “critical friend asking challenging questions and performing reality checks throughout the project”.
The service representatives subsequently formed their own Web Content Group to manage the day-to-day work of migrating the web pages.
The council said, “As the project progressed, some services made better progress than others. Towards the end of the project, the leaders helped out those services that were lagging behind.”
The content management system used for the site was Mediasurface’s council site pack. Alongside this, Stockport used a knowledge management module from the same supplier to improve the site’s search function.