Launch of city council website

By on 08/09/2009 in Blog, News

Glyn Evans, Birmingham City Council’s Corporate Director of Business Change, comments on today’s launch of the council’s new corporate website www.birmingham.gov.uk

Well, we've finally made it. Almost four years since the decision was made to replace our web technology, the new website went live this morning.

It's certainly been a long haul. During that time our thinking about the website has fundamentally changed. It has shifted from simply being a communications channel - though it remains that, of course - to being seen as the core tool in providing integrated Council services to everyone who lives in, works in or visits Birmingham.

We're not there yet but we've taken the first step of the journey. This was always going to be a massive hurdle - we had approaching 17,000 pages of content to transfer from a site running with obsolete technology.

Whilst a lot of the content remains unchanged - though we've done our best to check it for accuracy - it is now being delivered by fit-for-purpose technology. The new site is more welcoming, the layout of the content is more user-friendly, it is easier to navigate. It is much faster and far more compliant with accessibility standards. It is also much easier to maintain, as we now have a proper content management system, and it also has a new, Google-based search function.

New features such as mapping (providing 'find my local' services) and RSS feeds will be introduced in the coming months. Most importantly, it provides us with a robust platform that will be the heart of how we interact with citizens and businesses. The next few months will see the launch of the first services to use our “citizen account”, allowing residents to have a seamless view of the services that the Council provides to them.

There's no doubt that the project has taken far longer and cost more than we originally anticipated. There may well be good reasons for this but we need to ensure that if there are lessons there, we learn them and feed them into future projects.

I genuinely believe what we've now achieved is the first milestone on our journey to web excellence. There are many more milestones to go but getting to this stage was always to going to be the most difficult. It's been a long wait for the launch of the new site, but it has been worth it.

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There Are 4 Brilliant Comments

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  1. James Crandhill says:

    “There may well be good reasons for this”. Are there? If people are angry at what’s been delivered thus far then a little more information (which this post provides, and thank you for that) may help.

  2. Web user says:

    RE “There’s no doubt that the project has taken far longer and cost more than we originally anticipated. There may well be good reasons for this ”

    So what are the good reasons? Has Mr Evans explained why?

  3. C Jones says:

    17,000+ pages? No wonder people can’t find anything on your website. Architecting that amount of information in a local government environment is an incredibly hard challenge. I’m willing to bet that over 40% of that content hardly ever gets read, and probably isn’t that useful. The ongoing management of that information must surely make the content stale as well? How often are each of these pages reviewed?

  4. Peter Parker says:

    A site that costs £2.8m….it’s an absolute disgrace. What a waste of taxpayers money….there are a number of very respectable design/digial agencies in Birmingham that would have created an award winning site for Birmingham to be proud of at a hell of a lot cheaper than £2.8 million. Disgraceful.

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