East Hampshire Council

Like all local councils, funding pressures mean that all solutions must deliver good value for money. However, when the time came to renew East Hampshire Council's Microsoft portal contract in February 2020, pricing model changes meant that it was no longer going to be affordable to continue to use the Microsoft solution to power the councils My Account offering. 

The council needed to urgently look for an affordable alternative technology that could deliver intuitive web forms that integrated with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.

Ross in the Digital Design Team explains, “The selection and deployment of a new system had to be completed before the pricing model changed, so we had to act quickly. That was one reason for going with something off the shelf. We also felt that we needed a solution that could be developed and supported going forwards without exposing issues around the depth of support or succession planning.”

Having looked at a number of web portal solutions during the CRM purchasing process, the council had a good idea of the scope of its requirements. It approached Oxfordshire-based software developer Webcurl. Samantha Cardwell, CRM Analyst at East Hampshire District Council, says: “Our website team recommended Webcurl. They had been using Webcurl for the Drupal open-source website for our own council website and the website of Havant Borough Council, the council with which we share some back-office functions and services. Our team said Webcurl offered good support, they responded quickly to requests and they were very positive.”

One unexpected benefit has been the increased collaboration within the council. “We are working more with the website team now and we would like to get our voices heard more. At the moment, we have several portals across the different council operations and my ultimate vision would be to have a single portal for everything.”

 The council also cites another compelling reason: “It made sense to have a portal that would allow us to reuse our existing in-house skillsets”, The council team can now confidently plan future developments without worrying about it becoming prohibitively expensive. 

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“From our perspective it involved very little effort,” says Ross, In the end, the go-live was anticlimactic. It exceeded our expectations."

Ross Morley - Digital Designer, Customer Solutions 

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