Case Study: Oldham Council

The existing Council website...
Oldham Council's existing website had been in place for more than eight years. It was built on Livelink, a product which was no longer supported by a supplier. Functionality was limited and the Council were starting to have issues with reliability. In addition, the content needed immediate attention.

Suzanne Heywood, Head of Customer Services at Oldham Council says: "At the start of 2010 there were a number of problems with the Council website. Content wasn't customer focused, was frequently out of date or inaccurate, not written in plain English and users found it very difficult to find the information they were searching for. We needed a solution that offered users a much richer and more streamlined experience; a website that was easy to use, easy to update and delivered an improved customer service."

Identifying the need for change...
Over a period of 18 months, the Council carried out a full content audit of the Livelink website. A programme of content development was then put in place bringing all useful content up to an acceptable standard and deleting any content that was not relevant to users, was organisation-centric or not customer focused.

Once the work was complete it became clear that to address the functionality and reliability issues effectively it would be necessary to purchase an new enterprise-level CMS. The Council web team, SOCITIM - the Society of IT Managers, and Unity (OMBC IT provider) drew up a list of technical and functional requirements and graded them in accordance with how essential they were to the development of the council website.

The challenge - Creating a customer-focused, interactive website
Prior to the start of the procurement process for a new CMS system, the council developed a web strategy with the help of SOCITIM. Along with identifying the need for improved reliability and richer functionality, the strategy laid down a number of key objectives:

The new system needed to be a rich source of information for customers. And the information needed to be easy and quick to access. The website needed to enhance service delivery for customers, so that they could transact their business with the council through self-service, if they chose to. For this to work, the web-site needed not only to be transactional, but also, where the volumes justified it, to be integrated to the back-office systems which handled these services.

Finally, it needed to improve service delivery for customer service staff and potentially replace the existing Customer Relationship Management system, ie. provide all the functionality that the customer-facing staff, included elected members, needed to serve customers who telephone, email or call in to the council.

Choosing Jadu
After evaluating the tender responses, the Council made the decision to look at Jadu and one other company in greater detail. After due consideration the teams' scores directed the Council towards Jadu CMS. The Council's web team were aware of the Jadu CMS before procurement started though none of the team had worked on the system before. The Council also spoke to the Manchester City Council web team to see what they thought of Jadu as they had been working with the CMS for a number of years.

Jadu CMS provided immediate access to a more highly developed toolset which would make us less dependent on consultancy time. We were aware of other local authorities already using Jadu products to good effect and knew of Jadu's long track record of partnering with Councils.

Suzanne Heywood, Head of Customer Services, Oldham Council

"The Jadu CMS met all of our requirements and the presentations given by the Jadu team gave us confidence in the product. In addition, the fact that Jadu had previously built more than 50 council websites gave us confidence in Jadu's ability to deliver.

"Jadu's approach to the procurement, their willingness to help and their professionalism gave us the impression that Jadu were a supplier with whom we could develop a useful, productive long-term relationship."

The Jadu Solution

Jadu CMS is a highly sophisticated, simple-to-use content management system used by hundreds of public sector, educational and not-for-profit organisations across the UK. It also powers the websites of many high profile global businesses. Jadu CMS gives Councils the ability to dramatically increase the number and type of documents they publish online. It helps Councils raise the profile of individual teams, communicate with more people, tailor their output to meet the needs of different target audiences, cut costs, increase engagement and deliver excellent customer service.

Jadu worked in partnership with the Council over many months prior to launch, creating a new website that met their strategic objectives precisely. The future-proof Jadu system allows the Council to conduct more of its business online through quick, cost-effective creation of self-service multi-page forms that increase take-up and promote reporting. Jadu XForms integrates seamlessly with the Council's existing CRM, back-office customer database systems and payment gateways, keeping user accounts up to date and enabling transactional profiles, storage and retrieval of forms and data.

In addition, the CMS system can be extended to allow online payments through Jadu ePay, a fully integrated online payments management system that provides total control over payments and online billing. Providing a shopping cart of services, billing and balance displays, Jadu ePay has been designed for integration with many leading back-office systems to help organisations provide an accessible (WAI AA compliant) means of payment, 24/7.

Working with Jadu...

Jadu is an experienced public sector partner that understands channel shift, the digital-by-default agenda and the challenges faced by Local Authorities in delivering more for less. At Jadu we go further to ensure your objectives are met and your systems are fit for the future.

Suzanne Heywood says: "We initially met with Jadu in Leicester to discuss our requirements and they supplied us with an initial design. From there on the Council design team, web team and Jadu design team worked together to refine the design and functionality to a point where everyone was happy.

The opinions of everyone involved were taken on board and the feeling from the Council design and web teams was that Jadu approached all requests with a can-do attitude and that no request was too small to be worth the effort.

Suzanne Heywood, Head of Customer Services, Oldham Council

Measurable results for Oldham Council...
Jadu has more than 11 years' experience of working with Councils and other public sector organisations across the UK and abroad. This experience enabled Jadu to get to grips with Oldham Council's needs quickly and design an innovative solution that has delivered measurable results.

The new website was launched on 1 February 2012 and Oldham now has a site with vastly improved functionality where users can find all the content they need. All issues with the stability of the site have been resolved and the web team are now able to create content that adds real value to the site quickly and easily.

Work flow has been improved with the web team able to implement changes and update content immediately which improves the speed at which updates can be made and reduces the call on the limited resources within the team.

The new CMS has provided the Council with a platform for the development of their channel shift strategy. A customer transformation is currently being planned with activities expected to commence in June 2012. This will see the further development of the website to introduce additional transactional functionality with integration to the Councils Lagan CRM and back office systems.

Suzanne Heywood says: "We're very proud of the new site; it's a vast improvement and now looks current, professional and fresh. We are getting a steady flow of positive feedback from end users, something which we have never had before! In addition, work flow has been greatly improved and we now have the tools to create the content needed to deliver on the councils channel shift agenda. Jadu have been a positive, proactive and highly experienced partner and we are delighted with the new website."

About Oldham Council

Oldham Council is one of the 10 Local Authorities in the Greater Manchester region. Set to the North East of Manchester, Oldham is a large area covering more than 54 square miles and almost a quarter of the borough is within the Peak District National Park.

In Oldham no residential location is more than two miles away from open countryside.

Oldham has a proud industrial heritage but, along with many towns and cities, the industries on which the wealth of the area was built have now declined. 

Regeneration, both in terms of employment opportunities and physical redevelopment, is therefore very important to the future prosperity of the borough.

The Council's vision for Oldham is that it should be a place of choice; recognised as a place of opportunity for all.

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