The Story

Surrey County Council provide a wealth of information to their residents and local businesses who visit the website to find localised information, make use of online services, and access a large range of day-to-day resources. The website (www.surreycc.gov.uk) receives approximately 600,000 visits per month.

Advances in website technology and functionality have rapidly accelerated in the past decade, leaving some organisations, and their users, left wanting when it comes to user experience. This problem is just as relevant for local government organisations where the expectation for access to on-demand services is high, but budgets to affect the change continue to be low.

It's fantastic to know that we have the UK's best local government website. I'm sure that this is as a result of our willingness to embrace innovation to meet the 21st century needs of our residents.
Helyn Clack
Surrey County Council's Cabinet Member for Community Services

The Challenge

Surrey County Council originally engaged Squiz in 2009 to replace their old CMS with Squiz Matrix and give the in-house web team the freedom to be self-sufficient when developing and managing their websites.

The initial work on the council’s website involved using Squiz Matrix CMS to build a bespoke solution that acted in a similar way to their old CMS offering. Though successful, the complexity of the new infrastructure, features and governance had led to content authors having an unnecessary reliance on the web team – something Surrey County Council were keen to improve.

The challenge, therefore, was to make things less complex for their 200 plus content authors, whilst enabling the web team to remain in control of content quality.

enable the team to easily create additional websites for campaigns and partnership projects

Also high on the priority list was functionality that would enable the team to easily create additional websites for campaigns and partnership projects by using the out-of-the-box functionality of Squiz Matrix CMS.

The Solution

Surrey County Council decided to use Squiz Edit+ to make things easy for content authors. By using the out-of-the-box features available within Squiz Matrix CMS, the council’s web team were able to undertake much of the implementation themselves, with Squiz offering guidance and support where needed.

The skilled in-house team created a new version of their site and began to migrate content to the more simplistic design. As the new instance was populated with content, Squiz redirected links to the new pages, giving Surrey County Council the ability to migrate their content in stages.

With the new features that Squiz Matrix CMS provided, it became simple for the team to create high-quality websites, and they now have several additional sites that can be updated quickly, without reliance on their IT team. One such example is the flagship site for Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development – the council’s in-house provider of outcome driven, outdoor learning experiences for schools in Surrey and beyond.

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The Results

Best local government website in the UK, 2014

The new Surrey County Council website is no longer reliant on bespoke features, which means it’s easy for staff to make changes using Edit+ and the Matrix admin interface.

With a new governance structure in place, updating the site is less cumbersome, and content changes are quick and easy to make. The web team have used Squiz Matrix’s sophisticated toolset to add dynamic features to their website, including social media widgets and data feeds which means that that the site is always kept relevant and up-to-date.

The website received the maximum 4-star rating by SOCITM in May 2016

With clean and consistent navigation, users are able to find relevant content quicker than ever before and, due to the responsive design facilitated via Squiz Matrix CMS, members of the public can access the site using almost any device from anywhere in the world.

In recognition of Surrey County Council’s improved website, in 2014 it was awarded ’Best Local Government Website’ in the UK by the Society for Information Technology Management (SOCITM) – something we are all proud to have been a part of. In May 2016, Surrey County Council’s website received the maximum 4-star rating by SOCITM.

The Technology

Download Surrey County Council case study

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