It's All Happening in Haringey

Haringey Council

Introduction

Haringey Council is one of the 32 London borough local authorities. In 2014 the council decided that it wanted to develop and update its digital presence to reflect the progression in the way that it worked and supported its residents.

Haringey Council needed a website that provided the highest standards of user experience to the thousands of people who live in the area, allowing them to access services and information quickly and easily. The goal of the rebuilt site was to achieve a modern, responsive platform with a clean design that would provide an exemplary user experience and meet gold standards of accessibility.

The Brief

Haringey Council’s initial step towards improving its digital presence was investment in the website, and particularly investment in the Content Management System (CMS). Haringey Council was looking for a new, future proofed, flexible, secure and robust CMS. The council also needed the new system to fulfil audit requirements. All UK local authorities are audited every two years and so must be careful in terms of how information is managed across all platforms.

Having explored a number of options, Haringey Council decided that it wanted the new CMS to be Drupal. There were a number of reasons for this, including the ease of content management within the platform, and the fact that Drupal, as an open source CMS, does not require any license fees to operate or scale.

Having decided upon the use of Drupal, Haringey Council set about looking for a partner with considerable expertise in the CMS who could assist with moving the existing council website over to Drupal, as well as a number of smaller microsites which were also using an outdated CMS. Furthermore, the partner would have to provide ongoing hosting and support for the sites, as well as be able to deliver additional functionality and implement new designs as and when required.

Old Haringey.gov.uk website from 2013
The council website on multiple devices

The Solution

After a competitive tender process through G-Cloud, Haringey Council selected Ixis as its Drupal partner in March 2014. The first task involved moving the existing website portfolio from the old proprietary CMS, OpenText, to Drupal. Ixis implemented an agile project methodology to plan, manage and deliver sprints of development work to rebuild the suite of council websites using Drupal 7.

Ixis used a repeatable content migration process from OpenText’s LiveLink (more recently known as “OpenText Content Suite") to Drupal, which ensured that the content migration could continue to run during the life of the project.

As planned, Ixis initially moved the existing sites over to the Drupal CMS for the launch.

After these initial phases of the project were completed Haringey Council maintained its relationship with Ixis on a hosting and support contract for the new Drupal sites. In addition to this, Ixis have continued to provide ad hoc development work to improve the main website, including:

Rebrand and redesign

The council website had a major redesign as part of a wider re-branding exercise in 2015. Ixis worked closely with the appointed design agency to deliver the new mobile first website design to better promote self service and make it easier for residents and business to interact with the council.

Accessibility improvements

Haringey Council commissioned the Royal National Institution of Blind People (RNIB) to perform an accessibility audit on its site, which comprised of two main areas. Firstly the RNIB assessed the coding, and how well this adhered to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet.

The second part of the assessment was to recruit participants who were visually impaired and have them conduct usability tests on the website. Testers used a range of assistive devices such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, voiceover and touch controls on mobiles to test accessibility.

Feedback was provided following these tests, and Ixis worked with the RNIB and Haringey Council to bring the site up to the accessibility standards. As a result, Haringey Council is the first local authority to have its website approved by the RNIB.

The award was given in May 2017 and is subject to bi-annual re-testing to ensure these high standards are maintained.

The site has a wide range of information about services and easy access to carrying out tasks, presented using a structure and style which makes it very easy to use. This site really works - it's not just a show pony!

Judges
SOCITM

Highlights

Migration Highlights
  • Migration of the existing site designs whilst maintaining WAG 2.0 AA compliance
  • Over 3000 pages of static content scrubbed and migrated as well as thousands of documents and images too
  • Seamless migration process allowed for minimal interruption of service to resident
  • Reduction in annual hosting and licence costs providing value for money
Redesign Highlights
  • Award winning accessible website design
  • Annual increases in traffic of over 10%
  • Top SOCITM score for the last 7 years and judged best in London in 2017
  • Fully responsive mobile optimization, responding to the fact that over 45% of users access the site from a mobile or tablet
Hosting and Support Highlights
  • Clustered hosting model with Content Delivery Network to maximise resilience, traffic management and availability of servers
  • Fully supported and maintained with our ITIL accredited application and infrastructure layer support service
  • Response time of 30 minutes in Service Level Agreement
H H H H

The Results

The site has been moved across from single server dedicated hosting to a high availability hosting model. This ensures that users will always be able to access the site, and brings potential downtime to an absolute minimum.

Haringey Council’s website has been ranked as one of the top local authority websites in the UK for the sixth year running. The website earned a four-star rating, the highest available, from independent watchdog The Society of IT Management (SOCITM). Only one other Local Authority in the UK can match this 6+ year top rating. It was also judged the best council website in London in 2017.

SOCITM concluded that Haringey Council's site was an example of best practice for others to follow in terms of usability, its "clear and clean layout" and ease of access on mobile devices.

The clean, contemporary design of this website makes the promotion and customer journey both very straightforward... recommended as an example of best practice

Better Connected reviewers
SOCITM

Branding and design work was carried out by London based creative agency bandstand.

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