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Another win for HB Councils’ shared website work

ALGIM

Hawke’s Bay’s five councils have done it again – won a national award for team work on eight of the region’s local government websites.

The partnership between the councils is a first in New Zealand in terms of truly working collaboratively together. The ALGIM (Association of Local Government Information Management) awarded the trophy for Best Collaboration Project at its annual conference earlier this week. It comes just a little under two months after ALGIM gave the information technology specialists the Best Digital Project award for their shared overhaul and redesign of the websites. These were; each of the councils’ main websites, Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management, GoBay, and a website for the region’s consultations.

“This is great recognition for the work the team has put into the development of websites that will provide real value to our communities and a platform that enables easy access to information and to engage with their Council,” says Wayne Jack, Napier City Council.

The same sentiments were expressed by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive James Palmer. “I’m delighted to see this recognition for the team’s hard work, which focuses on adding value to our community. We want to keep delivering innovative, digital services across the region.”

Wairoa District Council CEO Steven May says Wairoa is pleased to have made a contribution to this project. “This is an excellent example of how collaboration and working together pays dividends and even better when we are recognised nationally for the great work we are doing here in Hawke’s Bay.”

Hastings District Council Chief Information Officer Andrew Smith says the awards are a fantastic outcome from combining the team’s collective expertise.  

“With our pooled technology resources across all five councils we become significantly more capable to deliver better and more cost-effective technology solutions. Better for the collective councils - better for our Hawke’s Bay-wide community.”

Monique Davidson, chief executive for CHBDC says: “This joint digital project is a New Zealand first in local government and demonstrates the huge benefit of councils collaborating to improve services in the digital space and beyond. I’m thrilled that the team has received recognition of their commitment in this space and I look forward to future opportunities for partnering with our neighbouring councils to deliver more for our communities.”

The project was led by the four-strong regional web development team, based at and employed by NCC, working for all Councils. Following on from four of the five councils starting to share IT resources in 2014, the project started in January 2018 and wrapped up in February 2019 when the last of the new look websites went live.

The focus was on how to re-design and upgrade the five main websites so they were consistent, user and mobile friendly, and featured plain English and te reo. For example, making the home pages, menus and My Property searches similar looking.

User engagement and testing played a big part in the process of designing the solution.
Lots of people were involved in the decision making, how to make the public facing website as user friendly as possible, and in how to ensure the ongoing updating of the websites would also be as simple and consistent as possible.

In the last six months the websites have clocked up more than 350,000 users, and been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

With the strong foundation of the relationships established through this process the Councils continue to work together to bring further improvements and cost savings for the shared web platform.

Photo caption: From left, representing Hawke’s Bay’s Councils were David Harris, Senior Web Developer, NCC, Katharina Di Lena, Graphic Design & Communications, WDC, and Shammi Datt, Business Applications Analyst, HDC, with Oliver Richardson, from award sponsor 2Degrees.

8 November 2019

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