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					                                                                              ITEM NO. 15


                                      EXECUTIVE

                                  11 JANUARY 2007

                  WEBSITE MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT

SUMMARY

As requested by the Executive, this report presents options for resourcing the future
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1.    INTRODUCTION

1.1   On 30 November 2006 a report was presented to the Executive updating Members
      on progress with the Web Programme and requesting that proposals for permanent
      resources for the continual maintenance and development of the website be
      agreed.

1.2   To reflect the maturity of the web function, the website has for the first time, been
      included as a separate item in the 2007/08 Service and Financial Planning
      process, and an explanation of the budget required to run the function was
      presented to the Executive.

1.3   The budget presented to Members on 30 November included the costs associated
      with the recommendation for changing the funding of staff resources from the ICT
      Investment and Renewals Fund to the General Fund revenue account, the value of
       h     e se e h i l u p rt
                 ts          c
      te w b i ’ tc n a s p o contract and a modest budget to allow for
      promotional activity to raise the profile of the site and encourage greater take-up of
      online services. The proposed expenditure is in line with the current ICT Strategy
       n h o en n’ rn f mai a G vernment strategy.
                            s
      a dteG v rme t Ta s r t n l o  o     o

1.4   As stated in the earlier report, the provision of some additional temporary resource
      funded from the ICT Investment and Renewals Fund has, in the last eight months,
        n b d i i a t rge s i h o n i
            e gf     c
      e a l s n i n po rs wt teC u c’We Po rmme N tb
                                        h            ls b rga            . oa l  eprojects
      include:

      
       Introduction of stage one of an online booking facility
      
       Launch of a new online A-Z of services
      
       New web section for promoting Council services and local democracy to young
        people in the Borough
      
       Launch of moderation process
      
       Development ofn w w b a mis aos ma u l p bs i c e ks a d
                            e               ir
                                 e d n t tr’ n a u lh g h clt n, i n         i
        training schedule
      
       Review of website statistics reporting tools.

2.    BACKGROUND

2.1    A key business tool

      2.1.1   The website supports and delivers services across the whole Council and
              underpins many of its Core Values and Key Strategic Priorities.

      2.1.2   ts h       o nils    s ibsl n          e
              I i te C u c’ mo t v ie a d wd l a aa l c mmu i t n
                                                   i y v ibl e o         c o
                                                                       n ai
              mechanism. In September 2006 over 300,000 web pages were viewed.
                                       1
                                                                               ITEM NO. 15


              An average of 722 pages per day were viewed between April and June
              2006.

      2.1.3   In addition, statistics demonstrate a significant increase in access to certain
              areas of the site (planning homepage from 29,537 page views in 2005 to
              90,406 page views in 2006) demonstrating a level of engagement with
               e i ns h h mp a i s h i ’ rwn
                  d          c           s
              rs e t w i e h s e te se go i         ts           gimportance as a tool of
              public involvement and consultation.

      2.1.4   From April to September 2006, the website has facilitated 7,832
              transactions with a total value of £966,795 as compared to 3,738
              transactions totalling £528,898 for the equivalent period in 2005. This
              represents a growth rate of 109.52% on the number of transactions and of
              82.79% on the value. Web payments now account for 7.79% of total
              transactions (excluding direct debits).

2.2   Cost saving capabilities

      2.2.1   The website has already demonstrated an ability to save the Council
              money; the efficiency saving for the transactions between April and
              September 2006 is estimated to be £6,000 (based on Gershon savings
              figures for 2006/07).

      2.2.2   The Council has made an estimated minimum saving on design and print
              costs of £26,000 during 2005/06 as a result of the Rationalise Publications
              Key Delivery Target (KDT).

      2.2.3   It is intended that, if provided with the appropriate staff resources, the
              website will be promoted more proactively to key target audiences in the
                 ue h n n h o e em, f u u i c ’ e u e ns n
                                        n
              futr.T e ,i te l g rtr i o ra d n e rq i me t a d e s         r
              expectations show signs of shifting in favour of receiving more online than
              offline forms of communication, this may present opportunities to review the
              balance between the two activities and to achieve some further cost
              savings in this area.

2.3   The original proposal

      2.3.1   Members previously agreed to funding of £80,000 from the ICT Investment
              and Renewals fund to provide resources for a web programme. This
              funding was used to create two temporary posts in the Web Team until April
              2007. Following thorough research into the management of other
                uh ri ’ e se n a i n o s eai n s y e o n i h t
                     te          t
              a toi s w b i sa dtk gi oc n i rt ni u t rc g i nta
                                            n t         d    o d r            to
              local authorities should focus greater energy on content management and
              promotion, the Web Programme Manager made the recommendation in the
              November report to the Executive that the current two temporary Web
              Development Officer posts, be superseded by a Web Editor and an
              Assistant Web Editor. Her assessment of what was required was also
              based upon the volume and type of work to move the Web Programme
              forward.

      2.3.2   The salaries proposed for the two permanent posts were at a lower level
              than the cost of the existing temporary posts. The proposed grades reflect
              the requirement for an editorial and promotionally focused team and have
              been market tested against salary grades for similar roles in other
              authorities. More detail is set out in option 3 below.


                                             2
                                                                             ITEM NO. 15


      2.3.3   The original report proposed that the Web Team take ownership of the
              website technical support contract that is currently funded by ICT. At the
               x c te e u s
                     vs            , r n r tn b u h u p r o t t s
                                               f    o
              E e ui ’ rq e t moe i omai a o t te s p ot c nrc i                  a
              provided in section 4 of this report.

      2.3.4   A budget was also requested to enable the Web Team to actively promote
              website developments, informing residents about the information and
              services they can expect to find and ultimately increasing and sustaining
              uptake of online services.

3     OPTIONS FOR WEBSITE MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT

      Members requested that this further report be submitted, providing some additional
      alternative options for the maintenance and development of the website.

3.1   Option 1 –Loss of existing temporary resource

      3.1.1   There is the option that no new posts are created following the end of the
              fixed term contracts. This would mean the Web Team would consist only of
              the existing one permanent post of the Web Programme Manager.

      3.1.2   Whilst this option presents clear cost savings, it would impact significantly
              upon the current role of the Web Programme Manager, who would need to
              be responsible for all aspects of maintaining and developing the website.
              This would inevitably mean that progress with the Web Programme would
              significantly decrease, as the Web Programme Manager would need to
              undertake the very reactive role of day-to-day maintenance of the site.
              There would be little scope for planning work or support for scoping and
              implementation of project work to support the delivery of online services
              and transactions.

              In addition, during periods of annual leave and sickness absence, there
                o l e o v ib o e frh
                  d            l e                  b rga
              w u b n a aa l c v ro teWe Po rmmeMa a e’rl                s e
                                                                   ngr o .

              This option is not supported by the Head of ICT Services who considers it
              unworkable, with the likelihood that most web-based work would return to
              ICT Services where there would be insufficient and inappropriate resources
              available.

3.2   Option 2 –Loss of two temporary posts/ creation of one new permanent
      post of Web Editor

      3.2.1   In this scaled down version of the original proposal, which would also
              represent the loss of a post compared to the current temporary
              arrangement, the Web Team, consisting of the Web Programme Manager,
              and a permanent Web Editor, would be able to continue delivering a
              strategic and editorial function.

      3.2.2                    d o
                o e e,t o l l h ev r fh o n ii
              H w v riw u s wted leyo teC u c’We Po rmme sincels b rga
              the Web Programme Manager would need to be more involved in day-to-
                a a mis ai a k t si te b d o i u p rn h o n i
                         ir v                s             t
              d y d n t tetss oa s th We E i rns p ot gteC u c’        i            ls
              Web Administrators and in moderating the content of web pages. This
              would mean that she would only be able to devote an estimated 50% of her
              time to project work to implement the Web Programme.



                                            3
                                                                            ITEM NO. 15


      3.2.3   In addition, the high volume of submissions and requests for support from
              the Web Administrators, would mean that the Web Editor would have
              limited time to spend on work to promote the website and contribute to the
              delivery of Web Programme projects.

      3.2.4   With only one additional permanent position, it would also become the
              responsibility of the Web Programme Manager to moderate content during
              periods of annual leave and staff sickness. This would also have a
              significant detrimental impact on progress on items in the Web Programme.

      3.2.5   The large group of Web Administrators (70+), without which the Council
              could not deliver its online services information, requires a high level of
              training, support, motivation and advice. It is important that the Web Team
              continues to effectively manage this group and provide them with regular
              interactive meetings. With one Web Editor, the Web Team would still be
              able to manage the group but the support and advice service offered to
              Administrators would be much less responsive and immediate. The current
              plans to expand the group and develop the concept of devolved
              maintenance, to address the increasing expectation for online services
              information, would be affected by this option.

      3.2.6   There is a significant amount of work involved in the day-to-day
              management and delivery of the website. One permanent post would
              enable the website to continue to be maintained but would result in the Web
              Team playing a much more reactive role in the delivery of the function.

      3.2.7   With this option, the support required from ICT Services would increase and
              impact on resource availability and development work across the ICT
              Strategy.

3.3   Option 3 –Loss of two temporary posts but creation of permanent Web
      Editor and Assistant Web Editor

      3.3.1   This option refers to the original proposal made to the Executive, where two
              permanent posts were requested.

      3.3.2   With this resource the Web Team could continue to maintain the website to
              a high standard and deliver a high level of customer service to both the
               n ra We d n t tr n h o n i e i ns n u i se .
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              i en l bA mis aosa dteC u c’ rs e t a db s e s ss    d               n
                ev r f h o n i
                  i                   ls b rga
              D leyo te C u c’ We Po rmme w u b w lrs uc d a d   d          l
                                                               o l e e e o re n
              capable of continuing at the current rate. The Team would also be in a
              strong position to proactively improve the website and the processes that
              surround it and raise its profile through targeted publicity campaigns. This
              should help to increase take-up of online information by the public in the
              longer term.

      3.3.3   The Web Programme Manager could continue to provide full strategic
              direction for the website and support and advise service units in
              implementing web-based projects with two additional officers in post. In
              addition there would be adequate and appropriate cover and support at all
              levels during periods of holiday and sickness absence.

      3.3.4   This option is supported by the Head of ICT Services.




                                           4
                                                                              ITEM NO. 15


4     WEBSITE TECHNICAL SUPPORT

4.1   Members asked for further information on the technical support available for the
      website in relation to the different options proposed and this is provided in more
      detail below.

4.1   In August 2006 the Web Programme Manager assessed an existing contract for
       eh i l u p r f h
             c                    o ni
      tc n a s p oto te C u c’ w b i ,b i p i frtru h te IT
                                        l e se e g a o ho g h C
                                         s       t       n      d
      Investment and Renewals Fund. Following the thorough assessment of the
      requirement, and consultation with ICT, a new supplier was procured to supply
      third line support to the website. This includes essential support for the new
      moderator process to ensure that the website is consistently available.

4.2   All of the proposed options set out in section 3 of this report imply increased
      technical support from ICT Services. ICT Services currently supports the website
      through the Senior Developer and Developer roles. This support currently
      represents approximately a 0.5 FTE staff resource. ICT is now reorganising the
      technical website support to spread this function across more staff. This will
      enable better use of resources with increased and wider technical knowledge and
      support. In future, all technical web support will be filtered through the ICT Service
      Desk and Service Desk personnel will be trained to provide first line support. Other
      members of the Customer and Technical Services team will be trained to provide
      second and third line support.

4.3   ICT will tackle problem issues and endeavour to rectify the problem before it is
       sa td o h u p r o a y
           a                                    o e e, h r r i
      e c l e t te s p otc mp n . H w v r tee ae t s w ee ITs           me h r C ’
      knowledge does not extend to the intricacies of this particular product and some
      other programming scripts that are used to deliver functionality to the website.

4.4   Given the volume of traffic, the number of transactions made through the website
      and their value, it is of serious importance that the website has a third level of
      specialist support to call upon should ICT be unable to resolve an issue or do not
      have the capacity to do so. This is common practice in other local authorities.

4.5   The budget for this support contract, as mentioned above, has to date been
      funded by the ICT Renewals Fund. The current contract will be reviewed in June
      2007 before it comes to an end in August 2007. However, given the type of work
      which this covers and development of the site, it is anticipated that a further
      support contract of this nature will be required. The Head of ICT Services and the
      Web Programme Manager are both of the view that this is the most cost effective
      way of ensuring that expert knowledge of a key business system is readily
      available to support the site.

5     COST OF OPTIONS

      In addition to the existing budget to maintain the website (see Annexe 1), the
      additional cost of the proposals and options presented in this report is shown
      below. The salary budget includes on-costs.

5.1   Option 1 - Loss of existing temporary resource

      Requested Additions to
      Revenue Budget
      D9415 Advertising*                                                           5,000
      D       Web Support Contract** Support contract for the website             20,000
                                     Total                                        25,000
                                            5
                                                                                 ITEM NO. 15



5.2   Option 2 - Loss of two temporary posts/ creation of one new permanent post
      of Web Editor

      Requested Additions to
      Revenue Budget
      A33     Salaries               Web Editor                                      34,140
      D9415 Advertising*                                                              5,000
      D       Web Support Contract** Support contract for the website                20,000
                                     Total                                           59,140

5.3   Option 3 - Loss of two temporary posts but creation of permanent Web
      Editor and Assistant Web Editor

      Requested Additions to
      Revenue Budget
      A33     Salaries               Web Editor & Assistant Web Editor               65,930
      D9415 Advertising*                                                              5,000
      D       Web Support Contract** Support contract for the website                20,000
                                     Total                                           90,930

      * = included in the options for Members in the 3 year plan
      ** = included in the options for Members in the 3 year plan at £25k. This has been revised
      to £20k.

6     CONCLUSION

6.1   This report provides Members with different options for resourcing the website on
      a transparent basis and has provided more detail as to why a technical support
      contract for the website is being delivered as it is.

6.2   The staffing options each have clear advantages and disadvantages, relating to
       h     b e m’ bi o ev r o l e a g f ev e ,r
                          lt
      teWe T a sa iyt d le ac mp t rn eo s ri s f m ma
                                  i          e               c     o      i
                                                                          ntenance
       n u p rt u p ra d i co o te o n i nn u i s s ae y n
                                  r i                 ls i
      a ds p otos p ot n d e t nfrh C u c’o leb s e s t tg a d    n      r
      continual development and improvement of the website.

6.3   Options 1 and 2 cost less than Option 3. However it is important to note that
      Option 3 is proposed at less cost than if the existing temporary arrangements were
      made permanent (a saving of £11,000 –2007/08 figures). It is also important to
      consider the relative disadvantages of Options 1 and 2 in terms of delivery of the
                                                  e ev e o h o n i u t r.
                                                         c
      work and the impact this would have on th s ri t teC u c’c s mes   ls    o

6.4    n re t         n n
                      i a o d rge s i h o n i    h
      I od r oma ti g o po rs wt teC u c’ We Po rmmea dt        ls b rga                n o
      ensure that the site is in a strong position to deliver long-term efficiency savings, it
      is important that a commitment is made to an adequate and reasonable level of
      permanent resource.

6.5        e
        ur te e rh n uv y n o                    n ai s i h i n ’ a e a te
                                                  c o
      C r n rs ac i as re o C mmu i t n wt teCte s P n l th  h       iz
        n f 0 5 n n h 0 6 e i ns uv y n c e h t e i ns t
                                               d ’
      e d o 2 0 a d i te 2 0 R s e t S re i i ts ta rs e t slda                d        il
      significantly favour off-line forms of communication when dealing with the Council
      (face to face, published material, press coverage). However, in the longer term, if
      these trends change, the balance of activity devoted to producing offline material
      could be reviewed to determine the scope for further efficiency savings in addition
      to those already being achieved under the Rationalise Publications KDT (reported
      in paragraph 2.2.2).

                                              6
                                                                                ITEM NO. 15


7.    DECISION

      The Executive is requested to consider the different resourcing options presented
      in this report and their implications. The Executive is recommended

        (I)    To approve Option 3 referred to in this report.

        (II)   To include:

                (i)    the staffing costs proposed in Option 3 (in order to offset the loss of
                       the two temporary post funded previously from ICT Renewals); and

                (ii)   the advertising and web support contract costs

               in the Service and Financial Plan in 2007/08 and on an ongoing basis.

Reason for Decision:
To enable the progression of the Web Programme and the continued maintenance and
development of a customer focused website.

Originators:
Holly Avenell, Web Programme Manager                 Alison Burt, Head of Communications
Direct Line: (01483) 444253                          Direct Line: (01483) 444330
E-Mail: holly.avenell@guildford.gov.uk               E-Mail: alison.burt@guildford.gov.uk

Steve Wragge-Morley, Head of ICT                     Adrian Maunders, Director
Direct Line: (01483) 444900                          Direct Line: (01483) 444200
Email: steve.wragge-morley@guildford.gov.uk          Email: adrian.maunders@guildford.gov.uk




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