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Award-winning website drives 16.5% increase in proper recycling

From disjoined digital experiences to an award-winning website. Hutt City Council enjoys a unified platform – with data-driven decisions & personalization.
Louise Fenn

Louise Fenn 30 Jan 2024

Image of Hutt City website

Hutt City

HCC’s 400 staff serve a community of 112,500 residents, in New Zealand's sixth most populous city.




CMS, Search, Data service, Integrations

As Hutt City Council’s (HCC) Customer Experience Channels Manager, it’s Steve Beckett’s role to help the council adapt to the evolving preferences of a diverse customer base.

We essentially started as a web team that saw the need for a more holistic view and evolved into a team that has driven to bring more focus to the wider customer experience.

The challenge

The 112,500 residents of Hutt City have a range of expectations when it comes to their online experiences.

“We’re not just selling a product into a normal e-commerce market segment,” says Steve.

Meeting the needs of every “customer” is no mean feat for public sector organizations. To overcome the challenge, Steve’s team’s goals required a digital transformation and new ways of working across the business. But legacy technology was holding them back. The team had been using the same content management system (CMS) for more than 15 years and it was failing to keep up with their requirements.

Poor integrations were creating disjointed experiences for both employees and citizens. HCC needed to seamlessly transfer data between platforms, better understand their citizens, and make data-driven decisions about their digital experiences.


  • Little customer data – limiting HCC’s opportunities to create personalized and relevant content and digital experiences
  • Siloed teams
  • Legacy technology and ways of working
  • Disjoined customer and employee experiences
  • Siloed technology
  • Substandard search
  • Design restrictions

The projects

The old days of putting in a monolithic system that just does its job over its lifetime are fading. It's more about picking the right technology with enough flexibility to scale and grow with the business. It’s not thinking about just one channel but many, and funneling people in the right direction or through channels to simplify their options. It’s breaking down the walls that exist across customer journeys…

The team needed a Composable DXP to achieve this. With Squiz, HCC moved from a standard CMS – with only content management capabilities – to a full suite of capabilities, enabling the team to focus on the customer, collect more data on citizens, and provide opportunities for the web personalization that would create the tailored online experiences they were looking for.

Together, since 2021, HCC and Squiz have utilized Squiz’s Content Management and Site Search capabilities, and data services to introduce:

  • An educational web app to help improve citizens’ recycling behavior
  • Revamped council and art museum websites
  • A payment gateway consolidation project

The results

16.5% increase in proper recycling 

Contaminated waste can be expensive for local governments to rectify. The site launch has been a great tool for educating the community on which bins to use. Since its launch, HCC has experienced a 16.5% increase in proper recycling.

Web users are finding information faster

  • Website visits increased by 17% in 2023.
  • HCC’s property search usage has doubled – with a friendly user interface.
  • Bounce rates have dropped from 56.36% to 34.7%.
  • Contact center calls have decreased.
  • Time spent on web pages has increased.

Bottlenecks have been removed with SaaS

Outsourcing our technology stack has ensured we have dedicated support whenever required and we’re not reliant on internal resources for development which caused bottlenecks beforehand.

The Squiz DXP is making it easier for Steve’s team to efficiently manage multiple channels – websites, web apps, social media properties – and devolve content management to subject matter experts across the business.

HCC wins website of the year award

At the ALGIM Awards 2023, HCC was presented with the ‘website of the year’ award. The council was assessed on its commitment to web standards, accessibility features, digital services, engagement rates, and online presence within the local government sector.

The accolade was a reflection of the team’s hard work to continuously improve the website, which in the 12 months prior to the award had included:

  • Creating design consistency across the website for an improved user experience.
  • Catering to different cultures and website navigation preferences, with the inclusion of te reo Māori and an intuitive icon-led design.
  • Ensuring pages were kept clean and free of any broken links or stray HTML tags.
  • Identifying and working on areas of improvement for accessibility.
  • Reviewing and updating content to meet their plain English standards across the site.
  • Ensuring decisions were customer research and facts-driven rather than subjective.

The team also now regularly trains new staff in the latest accessibility requirements, to ensure they maintain the standards they have been recognized for.

This award win was the icing on the cake for the HCC team who have been reaping the rewards of a unified platform powered by Squiz SaaS DXP. The team no longer has to worry about platform maintenance or laborious upgrades. They are always on the latest product version, with the most up-to-date features and automatic security updates – giving Steve and the team “peace of mind.”

Data now also flows easily across the platform and offers HCC a more detailed view of citizens' and employees’ habits and preferences.

The council can also offer website visitors faster load times, alongside an intuitive site search function – meaning citizens can find relevant information quicker than ever.

Bottom line – users are getting to their destinations more effectively, Steve Beckett says.

We also have more visibility of content that holds value. That means we can begin to model content more effectively, in preparation for more intelligent content, and not spend so much time serving for different channels. There are changes required at an organisational level to enable that but we are aiming for more focus in this space. There are more opportunities with our progressive web app too in having a more direct conversation with users, especially in service messaging.

The immediate focus has been on educating people toward using a particular service more effectively, but having a targeted app now gives us a platform to extend and build on.

I think going forward the DXP advantage for us is about ease of use and having flexible frameworks so improvement can be made quickly. You don’t want long development cycles you want to be able to slowly mould the technology till it's optimal. It's about being able to make continuous improvements or grow with advances elsewhere in technology.