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Croydon re-uses Brighton & Hove’s web platform


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Croydon Council has begun to redesign its main website using the platform originally developed for Brighton & Hove City Council.

It has gone public with the move alongside the publication of a new digital strategy that includes steps to re-use technology components.

The website move has been highlighted in a blogpost by Will Callaghan, delivery manager for the new website. He says it is using Brighton’s new site, built on the Drupal 8 content management framework, as a starting point and that the two councils have agreed on sharing core features.

These include a “store cupboard” of custom Drupal modules, initially developed by Brighton, to which they will both add, and any findings and techniques from user research. They will also share blogposts on the progress, but not hosting or anything available off the shelf.

Sprint approach

Croydon’s site is being developed in sprints, the first two having dealt with the decision to re-use the Brighton platform and changes needed to make it relevant to Croydon. The third began last week, focusing on code changes.

The council is aiming to have an alpha version ready next month and a public beta by November, followed by replacing the old site in March of next year.

“Our councils will save time and money by working together,” Callaghan says. “Croydon will get its new website months earlier than planned. Brighton will get the benefits of new formats such GOV.UK’s award winning step by step navigation which we’re going to implement very soon.”

He adds that this is an element of Croydon’s new digital strategy, published earlier this month, which includes an emphasis on re-using digital components.

Among the plans it outlines are to develop and steward a digital platform of re-usable technology components to be share with partners within the borough, reflecting an intent to build up the local digital sector. A discovery project is planned with the aim of completion by March 2020.

Authentication plan

The strategy also includes a plan to explore the potential for an authentication capability that the council could share with other organisations, providing a single log-in for a range of services.

There are also plans for a digital services development platform, to be in place by next January, to help digitise more of the council’s transactional services; and a programme to replace internal systems for adult and children’s social care by October 2020.

Publication of the strategy has been accompanied by the development of live roadmap to provide details of the work.

Talking about the strategy in a blogpost, the council’s head of digital Neil Williams says: “It sets a clear direction for the work the council’s digital service will do in the next five years, in collaboration with colleagues and external partners, to digitally enhance our borough and transform the council’s systems and services.”

Image from medithIT, CC BY 2.0

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