Preston City Council was one of Web-Labs first local authority clients. After almost 10 years, Preston and Web-Labs have maintained and continued to progress the contract beyond the customer-supplier relationship. Home to 132,000 residents, Preston's website currently boasts a 3 star design rating by SOCITM and is likely to reach 4 stars by in 2013.
In 2003, Preston became one of Web-Labs clients from the implementation of the Content Management System (CMS). Currently to date, Preston City Council uses a range of Web-Labs products including:
- Content Master (website and intranet)
- Forms Master
Prior to the use of the Web-Labs solutions, Preston City Council's website was a very basic and static system, which did not display its content to its full potential. Therefore, the council set about finding a new client to be able to manage their content in a more effective and efficient way, whilst keeping to a modest budget.
With Web-Labs' supreme efficiency, ease of use for non technical staff, expert design and value for money, the Content Management System ( CMS) implemented exceeded Preston City Council's expectations and the usage of the Web-Labs services has grown ever since.
With the use of the Web-Labs solutions, the council have made a massive saving where now each web transaction costs around £0.30 compared to face to face (£8 transaction) and telephone (£4 per transaction). This has lead to the council making a return on investment after approximately a year of doing business with Web-Labs. Furthermore, with over 2,000 pages currently on the live site, the council has been able to fully utilise the Web-Labs services by producing and uploading a vast amount of information up on to the website. The flexibility of the solution has also enabled Preston City Council to have an additional 'mobile web site' which is updated simultaneously to the main web site with no extra work.
Below is how each of Web-Labs services assisted Preston City Council in meeting its challenges.
With approximately 40,000 monthly users, 250,000 pages hits and 100 authors inputting information directly on to the site, Preston City Council has continued to fully utilise the content management's services capabilities. With technology advancing rapidly, Web-Labs have continued to enhance their services and the council have taken full advantage of this by continuing to use the updated CMS, which is currently on its third version. In late 2011, the www.preston.gov.uk site was re-designed and re-engineered to become even more customer focused and provides a mobile website.
As well as updates to the sites, the council have used the content management system to create a website called 'Visit Preston'. The Web-Labs design studio produced a variety of brand proposals and website designs for the client to choose from. Using some of the latest in JQuery techniques - and graceful degrading CSS the website works for all of the latest internet browsers, ensuring that everyone gets a great experience of the website and advertises the great destinations in the Preston region.
Of all the Web-Labs products, Forms Master is considered to be most utilised by Preston City Council because it is their way of capturing the data from public or providing a service to the public using an e-transaction rather than paper based. It is considered to be a bolt on to the CMS to control their payment forms, which are linked to their office payment system (such as ordering and buying new bins online or applying for jobs online). By allowing the public to complete forms online, provides greater organisational efficiency to the council by eliminating paper documents, reducing phoning and labour costs and providing an end to end solution.
Preston City Council is one of the first users of the Web-Labs e-Elections system. The council use the system to present their election results online. Whether it is for the parliamentary or council elections, the system has proved popular with users. An additional 8,000 users on Election Day and night found out the 'live' results in real time of the elections within the Preston area. The site is also used to provide the public with stats, graphs and charts to display the results in a graphical, visual way to identify who's done well/not done well or who's gained a seat/lost a seat and percentage swings etc. This system was highly acclaimed by SOCITM.
With technology advancing, Preston City Council have highlighted that they are looking to continue their relationship. With Web-Labs' long awaited production of 'The Bridge' (a complete web and mobile Development Environment) in beta test and nearing its completion, Preston City Council are likely to look into this service once it has been released.
We've had a very successful 10 years and we're looking forward to more success in the future and maybe another 10 years if that's achievable. 10 years is a long time but that says a lot, we're still here and we've enhanced a lot, the products that we have, we are still a very happy and satisfied client.
Head of Communications, Preston City Council