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Aylesbury Vale District Council building

Aylesbury Vale District Council

Improving internal communications for Aylesbury Vale District Council

The Client

Aylesbury Vale District Council is the non-metropolitan second tier authority for Aylesbury Vale in Buckinghamshire. It is responsible for housing, waste collection, council tax, local planning, licensing and cemeteries.

They work closely with Buckinghamshire County Council who are responsible for all other business in the Aylesbury Vale District.

The Challenge

Aylesbury Vale District Council needed to improve their internal communications via their intranet solution. Their intranet needed to be modernised so that key information could be highlighted, and staff were more engaged.

As Aylesbury Vale District Council have a large and diverse workforce, it was crucial to the project that user experience was consistent for all staff. This included the need for the intranet to be responsive for all devices and accessible to staff who were not office based whilst still maintaining a level of security.

It was also central that the solution improved intranet navigation and search functionality. The aim was for staff to be able to find information easily and in a timely manner, allowing them to better service external customers. Aylesbury Vale District Council also wanted the intranet to personalised to their individual teams and departments.

Lastly, it was essential that the solution was easy to use for members of staff of all technical abilities, both as editors and as the end users.

Desktop, Macbook, tablet and iPhone showing pages on the Aylesbury Vale District  Council's website

The Solution

As Aylesbury Vale District Council were already using Office 365 with their internal team, our solution was to use our hosted intranet solution as a base, integrating with Office 365 to enhance our offering and deliver the functionality they required.

Designed to meet the needs of UK Government organisations, our hosted intranet is compliant with requirements for accessibility and security. It also contains the advanced content management features typical of any enterprise CMS. These include a personalised homepage, publications, RSS feeds, enhanced search functionality, news and events. It is also device responsive out-of-the-box with a drag and drop editing layout suitable for users of all technical ability.

Hosted at our data centres in Kent and Newbury, the intranet was accessible via the internet to anyone with an internet enabled device and an AVDC username and password. This approach ensured that staff who were not office based were able to access the intranet, however anonymous access was blocked allowing for a secure solution.

To provide a more comprehensive search throughout the intranet we used our Search as a Service provision. Using the latest in Solr technologies, this cloud-based system provided predictive search, indexing and the ability for content tagging. We combined this with Drupal’s powerful Taxonomy module, to allow for definition and management of fine-grained content categorisation.

Our team were able to personalise our hosted intranet solution to meet the workflows required by Aylesbury Vale District Council. Creating customised workflows and built-in permissions to manage who has access to create and amend content. Allowing editors to moderate, review, publish and un-publish content and tailor settings for 7 distinct content types.

Time sensitive page content could also be set to publish or un-publish on dates in the future. For peace of mind, all previous versions of content were retained and could be reinstated if required. All editing functionality was provided in a drag and drop layout with full WYSIWYG editor, suited to non-technical staff members.

The navigation of the intranet was designed to service the needs of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s workforce. However, if required, site editors could add or amend navigation hierarchy via simple drag and drop.

We also set up an AAD integration with Office 365, to utilise the Exchange Online staff directory so that the dataset could be enriched with additional data. Our team were able to take the basic data stored in the Azure Active Directory and the Exchange Online Directory (such as key staff information like name, department and picture) and augment it with other information specific to the intranet setting (such as hobbies). This gave a hybrid approach to displaying information about the workforce and removed any data duplication.

So that each team member could have a personalised experience, we implemented an intranet homepage, which could be personalised. Every user within Aylesbury Vale District Council had access to a library of widgets, which they could order to their preference therefore creating their own unique view of the intranet.

The end result was an intranet that catered to the full workforce at Aylesbury Vale District Council. Allowing staff to login from any location, using any device to access and engage with personalised and highlighted content.

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