LocalGov Drupal (Beta)

In 2020 and early 2021, the LocalGov Drupal project received follow-on funding from the Local Digital Fund to move into beta.

During the beta phase, the project team will:

  • Continue to support the development of new features, based on the needs of participating councils
  • Devise formal support for new councils wishing to adopt the codebase. Based around a website, this will include implementation support, case studies, tutorials and guidance
  • Develop and formalise the community of users and contributors through robust governance processes and plans for a sustainable operating model
An early iteration of the LocalGov Drupal project website.

Watch the project’s lightning talk at Digital Leaders Week 2021 (skip to 4 minutes):

Timeline

December 2020

The Drupal project is awarded £150,000 for their Beta phase.

February 2021

The project receives a further £275,000 of funding through the Continuous Funding Model to continue their Beta phase.

March 2021

The project began their beta phase of work.

11 councils signed the MoU to adopt the shared codebase for local government websites, with representatives attending fortnightly product group meet-ups and sharing features they have developed with others.

The team ran regular skills sessions for council web publishers. Recent sessions (available to watch on YouTube) have covered using GitHub, accessibility, and GDPR and cookies.

The project also featured in an international report on government software cooperatives and a dedicated case study by the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory.

May 2021

Project lead, Will Callaghan, wrote an article about the project’s approach to collaborative code development for Open Access Government.

The team also uploaded two more video skills sessions to their website and YouTube. 

Mark Conroy published a blog post in which he talks about how users can create ‘sensible defaults’ in their theming templates.

The project became a finalist in the ‘Sharing Economy’ category at the Impact Awards

The team started the workstream focused on communications, future governance and supporting new partners to adopt the codebase.

Will Huggins, CEO of Drupal development agency Zoocha, wrote an article for Open Access Government on the opportunity of open source technology in local government, which references the project.

June 2021

The team gave a presentation about the project during the Digital Leaders Week Lightning Talk session (skip to 4:00 minutes).

The project team tested sociocracy as a method for managing the growing community, and so far the decentralised working groups have been working well.

The team also met with GDS to talk about their planned work on Forms and the possibility of using GaaP products and PaaS (Platform as a Service) as a viable alternative to the solutions more commonly used in local government.

July 2021

The project team, in collaboration with colleagues working on the Open Referral UK data standard, launched a directories module that is fully compliant with the standard. 

This important piece of cross-project working means that the 11 councils that have already adopted the codebase can now also be considered as potential adopters of Open Referral UK. The module also uses Open Active, a standard for describing the linking to sports and leisure facilities. Read more in this blog post by Ekes.

August 2021

The team held a mid-point user research feedback session. During the session they shared lots of fascinating insights into the findings to date, covering areas such as joining the collective, the product, promotion and future plans.

The team started work on their ‘shop window’ website.

The team launched a fortnightly newsletter to make it easy to follow the project.

September 2021

The team held a workshop on designing co-operatives with Mark Simmonds from Co-op Culture, to run through options for the type of legal entity they could launch in the future.

 

Members of the Drupal project team spoke at four different events as part of DrupalCon Europe in early October, the largest international Drupal conference on the continent.

The project beta entered its final sprint. The team began focusing on the structure of their business model and what options there are to manage the codebase and contributors going forwards. 

Their product website was updated and improved — you can now easily find out more about the project, access developer resources such as Github, and have a look at their demo site.

October 2021

The team took part in LocalGovCamp21 ‘Lite’! by giving a Lightning Talk about the project.

The LocalGov Drupal team concluded their beta phase and started working on their beta report.

The team can now count 19 councils and 7 suppliers among their community.

December 2021

The Drupal project receives £400,000 to continue with their Beta project. The funds will be used to:

  • develop a microsites module for the codebase
  • transition to a legal entity with a sustainable business model

February 2022

March 2022

The Agile Collective, supported by Annertech, has been successfully appointed as the delivery partner for the project’s next phase of work, which will deliver a new microsites module to the LocalGov Drupal platform.

Listen to the recent Talking Drupal video cast to hear members of the team discussing the project — including what it is and who it’s for.

The project team has also just introduced a new fortnightly drop-in session for content designers from LocalGov Drupal member councils, where they can network, share ideas and contribute to the core distribution.

On Thursday 9 June, Will Callaghan, project lead for the LocalGov Drupal project, delivered a talk outlining his team’s approach and thinking about future steps to other DLUHC funded projects.

During the session, Will provided an overview of:

  • the LocalGov Drupal governance model
  • how the project team has evolved their community from one to 28 councils
  • the team’s plan to create a legal entity

LocalGov Drupal is a prime example of what local government digital collaboration can achieve. Newcastle City Council has just joined the project, bringing the total to 28 UK councils. This number is growing rapidly as more organisations learn about the opportunity that LocalGov Drupal offers.

On Tuesday 5 July, the team will be hosting a free event at the Amazon Headquarters London. Join speakers including Will Callaghan and Kate Hurr (Head of Digital at Cumbria County Council) to hear how using LocalGov Drupal can help councils publish better web content and reduce the cost of management. Find out more and view the agenda, then email fardarre@amazon.com to book your place.

July 2022

On Tuesday 5 July, the project team presented a seminar at Amazon HQ on ‘How your council can save time and money with LocalGov Drupal’, which was attended by representatives from 23 councils.

LocalGov Drupal have signed up to speak at LocalGov Camp 2022. This in-person event (the first for three years) is scheduled to take place on Thursday 29 September at The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham. The event will focus on digital and service transformation topics, from culture change to low-code, agile working to robotic process automation.

The team has published Sprint 4 Notes on their microsites work and user testing of the early prototype, which is now complete. The focus of the sprint was to test the architecture and user experience of creating new microsites, assigning users, configuring the look and feel, and adding content to a page.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) recently published a case study with Cumbria County Council about the development of the LocalGov Drupal open source website platform. Meanwhile, InVuse have also published a case study on how Redcar & Cleveland Borough council (RCBC) have adopted the platform to accelerate the start of their digital transformation and future development.

LocalGov Drupal now counts 29 councils and seven suppliers among its growing community.

September 2022

The microsites project team has announced that councils are now able to configure and populate a new microsite with pages, directories, events and tweak the look and feel of the sites in order to make them look individual.

Essex County Council is the 30th local authority to officially join LocalGov Drupal. In a blog post published in August they explain how LocalGov Drupal collaboration is enabling them to deliver digital services for Essex residents.