Harrow LBC is undertaking a major re-development of its website www.harrow.gov.uk with the assistance of Socitm Consulting.
The project will involve managing the migration of existing data to a redesigned Harrow website, working towards Harrow's BVPI 157 target of getting 100% of information transactions online, developing a set of procedures for managing the website, and training staff across the council and in other local agencies in use of the content management system and the supporting procedural framework.
The project is being jointly funded by Harrow and by LGOL e-government support for the Harrow Strategic Partnership. A key aspect of the project is enabling external agencies to use the council's web infrastructure to develop their own online presence.
According to Socitm's Andy Grant, who is managing the project, the APLAWS CMS is especially suitable for Harrow's purposes: 'Putting the council's website at the heart of its delivery and communications strategies means that people throughout the organisation and in partner agencies have to take ownership of their sections of the website and develop and maintain them consistently. APLAWS is designed to encourage devolved content entry, and a major part of my work will be ensuring that content managers within the council and in partner agencies are fully up to speed on how and when to update their pages.'
Andy Grant also commends the cooperation between APLAWS developers and users in local authorities around the country. 'Harrow can discuss any issues they have with people at ot her authorities who face very much the same challenge and who are using the same technology. We're also making extensive use of the I&DEA's Electronic Service Delivery toolkit to share knowledge and best practice in order to achieve Harrow's ambitious plans for online transactions.'
Socitm (http://www.socitm.gov.uk) is an association of ICT professionals working in and for local authorities and other public sector bodies. It is a leading authority on the effective application of ICT in local government, and provides information and advice through a growing programme of research, publications, conferences, training, and consultancy.
Socitm Consulting (http://www.socitm.gov.uk/Public/consulting/) has grown rapidly since its launch in 1997 to become the consultancy most used by local authorities in the areas of e-government and ICT. It has completed more than 300 projects for over 150 different clients. Heavily involved in all aspects of e-government strategy, planning and implementation, Socitm Consulting carries out a wide range of other projects in the areas of benchmarking and performance management, partnership management, change management and technology management.
Harrow (http://www.harrow.gov.uk) is one of London's most attractive suburbs. It is an area which combines the fast pace of a lively business and commercial centre with the peace and quiet of the countryside. The borough is located in the northwest of London and has a population of approximately 208,000.
APLAWS (http://www.aplaws.org.uk/plus/pages/home/) was one of 25 funded Local Government Online Pathfinder Projects, which aimed at exploring and developing new ways of implementing e-government. The APLAWS CMS is based on open source technology, specifically designed for use by local authorities and supports multiple client types including WAP, IDTV and PDA. Key development principles included making it possible for data to be exchanged between local authority websites, setting standards for accessibility by all segments of the population (including the elderly, the blind and partially sighted and those whose first language is not English), and allowing for citizens to personalise a portal, enabling a 'my local authority' view of the website.