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Recommendations from Final Report - Web CMS Review - 03/03/10

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Governance Recommendations
1. 4.2.3 12 Consideration be given to the allocation of a director solely This recommendation will be considered and if Sept 2010
responsible for the governance of web-based services – a appropriate, actioned once the restructure of the
“Web Services Director”. Chief Execs Directorate and the subsequent
proposed move of the Customer Service function
is agreed
Change Management Recommendations
2. 4.3.4.1 16 Corporate Management Team (CMT) instruct that a
nominated project manager be in charge, with executive
authority, at all times on projects of a certain magnitude or
importance, such as the Web CMS project.
3. 4.3.4.2 16 CMT formalise an instruction that on all projects over a certain
The appointment of the Head of Projects &
size or of a business-critical nature, a handover period Ongoing
Programmes for the Council to review and
between project managers be mandatory. throughout
implement a corporate approach to the improved
4. 4.3.4.3 16 Depending on size and complexity, we recommend a 2010; first
management of projects and programmes across
‘shadowing period’ of at least two weeks between the review Sept
the whole council will review this recommendation
departure of the incumbent project manager and the 2010
in the light of their wider remit
assumption of responsibilities of his or her successor.
5. 4.3.4.4 16 In addition to the requirement for a nominated project
manager at all times, we further recommend that an assistant
project manager be required.
6. 4.3.4.5 17 A clear procedure for change management, is implemented
Summary Recommendations regarding Governance and Management
7. 4.3.1 18 We recommend that BCC’s Corporate Management Team These recommendations will be considered and if
(CMT) should identify a “Web Services” senior manager or appropriate, actioned once the restructure of the
Director who is wholly responsible at governance level for the Chief Execs Directorate and the subsequent Sept 2010
delivery of best-in-class web-based services to Birmingham’s proposed move of the Customer Service function
citizens, businesses, staff, visitors and other stakeholders. is agreed
8. 4.3.2 18 The Web Services senior manager or preferably Director In the meantime, the AD Customer Services has
should have a clear mandate from the CMT to oversee all responsibility at governance level for the delivery
aspects of BCC’s use of its web platforms. This should of best-in-class web-based services. In addition, a

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include high-level liaison with Service Birmingham and the full time Head of Customer Service Delivery is in
Directorates, and financial oversight accountability. In the place (reporting into the AD Customer Services)
context of current budgetary and headcount issues, we who is managing web development on a day to
recognise that this may not be a full-time role but we day basis. These roles liaise directly with the
nonetheless recommend this. Service Birmingham Web Services Manager as
9. 4.3.3 18 We believe that BCC should allocate a full-time “Web appropriate.
Manager” reporting to the Director and this person must be in
overall effective day-to-day charge of web development in all
its aspects.
10. 4.3.5 18 It should be clear to all BCC personnel that this Web Manager
is ‘in charge’ of all web-related matters for the entire
organisation, with the Web Services senior manager/Director
being the ultimate decision-maker regarding strategic matters,
with relevant advice and opinions being taken from other
Directorates and Departments.
11. 4.3.4 18 This Web Manager should be responsible for day-to-day Service Birmingham put in place a full-time, Sept 2010
management of all parties involved and have overall dedicated Web Services Manager position from
responsibility for communication with the Directorates to July 2009. This person regularly meets with the
ensure needs are being met. We recommend that Service council’s Head of Customer Service Delivery to
Birmingham should have a similar person at the same level discuss strategy, agree priorities and review
and that this person should report into BCC’s Web Manager. progress.

12. 4.3.6 18 This should be equally clear to BCC’s chosen provider of Service Birmingham is very clear that the web N/A
technical services, Service Birmingham. strategy and their priorities and objectives are set
by the Head of Customer Service Delivery. All
recommendations and planned changes are co-
ordinated with the BCC governance team to
ensure strategic objectives are achieved.

13. 4.3.7 18 We recommend that the current BCC Web Services Steering This recommendation will be actioned once the Sept 2010
Group’s composition be revisited and should meet on a restructure of the Chief Execs Directorate and the
fortnightly basis until all of the Web CMS project’s objectives subsequent proposed move of the Customer
have been met. Thereafter it should meet on a monthly basis. Service function is agreed
It should be chaired by the proposed Web Services senior
manager/Director and co-ordinated by the Web Manager. We In the meantime, regular fortnightly meetings are

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recommend that the revised Group should comprise: held with Key BCC and Service Birmingham
• Two representatives from the Directorates at web editor stakeholders to ensure BCC’s web strategy is
level being moved forward in the appropriate way.
• A senior representative from Customer Services, if web
services are not run by CS
• The Programme Manager for Customer First
• The Programme Manager for Excellence in People
Management
• An appointed “Social Media (Web) Communications
Officer” from Public Affairs and Communications, or the
Head of Creative Services
• The BCC Web Team Manager
• The BCC Corporate Accessible Information Officer
• A dedicated Project Accountant from Finance

14. 4.3.8 19 We recommend that the Web Manager, the Web Steering This recommendation will be considered and if Sept 2010
Group, and the BCC Web Team has full sight of all appropriate, actioned once the restructure of the
specifications and contracts, including full and detailed Chief Execs Directorate and the subsequent
financial information. proposed move of the Customer Service function
is agreed
15. 4.3.9 19 As stated above we recommend that within the Finance The Corporate Finance function has agreed that N/A
function should be a nominated person (the “Dedicated all major projects will have a ‘dedicated’ project
Project Accountant”) for web-related work, serving the Web accountant.
Manager in financial matters. We understand that this has
now been actioned by the Finance function.

16. 4.3.10 19 In organisational terms we recommend that below the Web This recommendation will be actioned once the Sept 2010
Manager should be the Manager of the BCC Web Team. restructure of the Chief Execs Directorate and the
Whilst Service Birmingham are charged with delivering the subsequent proposed move of the Customer
work required, it is our opinion that BCC should retain a fully- Service function is agreed
staffed Web Team capable of monitoring, advising, and
assisting the Directorates. In the meantime, the BCC Web Team maintains
the delivery of the corporate website and is
undertaking this function
17. 4.3.11 19 We feel that Service Birmingham would wish to act in the Within Service Birmingham, the ICT Director has N/A

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same way. There needs to be clear accountability and ultimate accountability for the delivery of web
effective lines of communication. The allocation of a Director solutions for the council. Reporting to the ICT
at Service Birmingham in overall charge of BCC’s web needs, Director is the Head of ICT Applications who is
reporting to BCC’s proposed “Web Services Director”, is responsible for all IT Systems, including the
important in our view. A senior manager at SB should also be corporate website solutions. The Web Services
allocated for all communication with BCC’s Web Manager. Manager reports to the Head of ICT Applications,
and has day to day responsibility for delivering
agreed actions and has a clear escalation route
for any issues that arise. The Web Services
Manager also has responsibility for
communication with the council regarding web
related matters. The Web Services Manager and
the Head of ICT Applications meet frequently with
the BCC Head of Customer Service Delivery. The
Head of Applications and the ICT Director engage
directly with the BCC AD for Customer Services
on more strategic matters as appropriate.

Recommendations for External Communications for the Web CMS Project


18. 5.3.3.1 22 We recommend that the full nature of the Web CMS project be
once again explained in layman’s terms and suggest it is
worth a formal communication in the form of a press release
on this subject by Public Affairs and Communications (PAC). This recommendation is supported. All
communications relating to the web site should
Sept 2010
19. 5.3.3.2 22 We recommend that consideration be given to the production explain the rationale for the website in a non-
by PAC of a summary communication document and technical manner.
additional detailed information, written in layman’s terms,
clearly stating what is being delivered for the various
investments that have been made.
Audit Recommendations
20. 6.2 24 In future Birmingham Audit may wish to revise its Birmingham Audit’s plan is derived from a risk N/A
assessments upwards on web projects and possibly make its assessment. This helps us to ensure that we
recommendations stronger, if that is possible. In particular, target our effort at the areas of greatest risk
we suggest that consideration be given to an imposed across the whole of the City Council. The
contingency factor on every aspect of web development. problems and issues that have been encountered

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with this project will be taken into account when
risk assessing any future web based projects.

The introduction of contingency time was


recommended within our project reviews. The
introduction of an imposed contingency factor for
all future projects should be included within the
programme / project methodology to ensure a
corporate approach is adopted.
Risk Management Recommendations
21. 7.1.1 25 We recommend that future web audits be given more We support this recommendation this should be Ongoing
prominence and that where clear risks regarding key web good practice in relation to the management of
deadlines are highlighted, these be flagged in very simple and projects and programmes. The appointment of the
‘Exec Summary’ terms at Director level, as well as to those Head of Projects & Programmes for the Council to
directly responsible for meeting them. review and implement a corporate approach to the
22. 7.1.2 25 Our single most important recommendation in this area is that improved management of projects and
because web projects almost never run to plan, deadlines programmes across the whole council will review
should contain significantly more contingency than on other this recommendation in the light of their wider
projects. remit.

Birmingham Audit has an audit protocol in place.


This protocol has recently been reviewed and
updated. The protocol clearly outlines roles and
responsibilities and the audit reporting process.
This includes Corporate Director and member
escalation.
Training Recommendations
23. 8.1.1 26 We recommend that in future a full assessment is made of
We support this recommendation and agree that a
training timescales and the impact on multiple users trying to
full assessment should be made when designing
access the system at any one time.
training for new systems. Dec 2010
24. 8.1.2 26 We recommend that further training be phased and timed so
This will be considered as part of the planned
that the initial experience of a user is a positive one.
upgrade.

25. 8.1.3 27 Given that further developments and improvements are taking We support this recommendation Dec 2010
place with the CMS, it is our recommendation that additional

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training be provided to all super-users. Fatwire v7.5 is scheduled for late in Q3 2010, and
a training programme will be agreed as part of the
A new version of the FatWire Content Management software implementation plan for that new release of the
is apparently planned for implementation in 2010 and it would product.
seem advisable that changes in using the system are the
subject of a new training session. At the very least a training
bulletin could perhaps be drafted and sent to all users prior to
the implementation of FatWire v.7.5.
Recommendations regarding Outstanding Scoping Issues (Web Projects)
26. 10.6.1.1 We recommend that a thorough assessment be undertaken by We support this recommendation and a review of Sept 2010
BCC of what are thought to have been the agreed project outstanding issues has been undertaken and is
deliverables and that any outstanding issues be raised with being assessed against the planned upgrade to
Service Birmingham. Fatwire v.7.5.

27. 10.6.1.2 Timescales for rectification then need to be agreed and we Since the go-live deployment, outstanding issue Sept 2010
further recommend that a communication be made to the CMS lists have been prioritised by the BCC web team
users in respect of this. BCC personnel have been very in terms of their impact to operations, and those
patient in our opinion and it is important that they are aware priorities have driven a shared delivery plan
that their concerns are being heeded and that continuing agreed with the Service Birmingham Web
progress is being made. Services Manager.

28. 10.6.1.3 Based on dialogue in January 2010 with those involved in the Both within BCC and Service Birmingham, Sept 2010
ongoing development of the Web CMS services, it seems that governance around live service and future
a tighter control is now being imposed on future specifications, deliveries has been formalised. This includes
deadlines and costs. That said, we continue to recommend a refreshed processes and procedures to ensure
more robust command and control structure be put in place, scoping and delivery of change is managed with
as outlined in the ‘Governance’ section of this Report. improved control and structure.

Recommendations regarding Future Scoping (Web Projects)


29. 10.6.2.1 35 Our recommendation going forward is that all web functionality We support this recommendation and it should Sept 2010
be specified by the business in non-technical language and be form part of the remit of the Web Steering Group.
user-led by a Web Steering Group. It will then be the
responsibility of technical personnel to interpret this into a Service Birmingham have specific roles in place
detailed specification. which focus on requirements gathering and
specification, allowing non-technical input to be

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translated into clear specifications for both
technical and non-technical groups to receive a
common understanding of what is being defined
30. 10.6.2.2 35 We suggest there then needs to be a review process where We support this recommendation. Sept 2010
the technical specification is explored with the Web Team and
Service Birmingham in terms of its approximate time and any Service Birmingham, within the ICT Applications
cost implications. This would allow the business to redefine its Service Line, has launched a Requirements
objectives if necessary, based on the relative importance of Management function, and in the revised process,
requests that had been made and the associated costs to factors in time to non-technical solution proposal
implement these. walk throughs for the customer (in this case the
BCC web team). This provides the opportunity for
The end result should be a project which constantly combines revision of objectives where necessary,
real business needs with reasonable timings and costs to
achieve them.

31. 10.6.2.3 36 We recommend that this process be managed by the We support this recommendation. The Sept 2010
proposed Web Steering Group mentioned in the Governance arrangements for future web governance have
and Management section of this [i.e. the review] Report. been agreed corporately. Implementation is the
responsibility of the AD (Customer Services).
Recommendations regarding Web Project Programmes
32. 11.3 37 Management issues and recommendations are discussed The appointment of the Head of Projects & Sept 2010
elsewhere in this Report. In this section we would make one Programmes for the Council to review and
recommendation in respect of deadlines on projects of this implement a corporate approach to the improved
nature. We have stated above that web projects rarely go management of projects and programmes across
according to plan. Doubtless this will be contested by some the whole council will review this recommendation
internet specialists but it is our experience built up over many in the light of their wider remit
years.

To counter this natural trend for overruns, we suggest the


following methodology be adopted:-
• Those involved in specifying a project should continue to
forecast the milestones and deadlines they feel are
achievable.
• The overall project manager should then add a significant
contingency to these dates.

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• The technical teams should continue to attempt to deliver
what they have promised within the set dates, but the
overall programme as reported to the business will contain
the more likely dates for delivery.

Design Recommendations
33. 12.1.1.1 40 We understand that the website has not had the benefit of a
specialist web designer creating a more visually-appealing site
template and a range of graphics to assist in making key
The website continues to evolve through
information stand out.
Customer Services, the Customer First Sept 2010
34. 12.1.1.2 40 There is also a need for more dynamic visual elements, which
programme and the directorates.
could also be dealt with by an external agency.
35. 12.1.1.3 40 We recommend that these be given consideration by the
proposed Web Steering Group.
CMS Recommendations
36. 12.7.5.1 We recommend that BCC discusses this with Service The Head of Customer Service Delivery is Sept 2010
Birmingham, with timings agreed, in order to meet the original currently reviewing all outstanding defects from
specifications if these have not been met. original project delivery, in context of de-scoping
any which will be resolved by the upgrade to
Fatwire 7.5; prioritising those which impact on
customers (e.g. accessibility) and users. A review
of all customisations is also underway, removing
any which are superseded by the upgrade or
which are deemed unnecessary (on the basis that
retaining customisation will affect future upgrades)
with a view to reducing customisation where
possible. A review of delivered functionality
against what was specified will be built into this
process, but has not yet been completed.

It is proposed that the service will be


benchmarked prior to delivering version 7.5 of the
Fatwire product. Efficiency targets will then be
agreed between the BCC web team and the
Service Birmingham Web Services team.

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37. 12.7.5.2 The current system of only being able to upload new content We accept that a review of content upload should Jan 2011
twice per day is not viewed well by users. We recommend be undertaken once the upgrade to Fatwire 7.5
that this be reviewed and resolved by Service Birmingham. has been implemented in discussion with Service
Birmingham. Current recommendations from
Service Birmingham are that exceeding the two
publishing slots de-stablises the site affecting all
users; therefore actions and reassurance is
required from SB re. stability before BCC can
authorise more regular publishing slots.

The current schedule was agreed between


Service Birmingham and the BCC Web Team in
order to balance system load against content
update requirements.

In the meantime, a facility is available to publish


outside of these times (with associated impact to
system performance being a potential outcome),
Governance around those requests is controlled
within the BCC Web Team.
38. 12.7.5.3 It is recommended that two regular users of the CMS from the This recommendation will be actioned once the Sept 2010
Directorates be appointed to the Web Steering Group or such restructure of the Chief Execs Directorate and the
other body managing the ongoing development of the CMS subsequent proposed move of the Customer
and website. This will enable those managing the Service function is agreed
improvements to become aware of issues directly affecting
actual users of the system and to address these concerns via In the meantime, regular fortnightly meetings are
Service Birmingham. held with Key BCC and Service Birmingham
stakeholders to ensure BCC’s web strategy is
being moved forward in the appropriate way.
39. 12.7.5.4 It is our further recommendation that the CMS content We support the proposal that it would be useful to
approvals process be revisited. Considerable work has now review the content approvals process on a regular
been done by the Customer Services Team in looking at this basis and would propose that the Web Steering
Sept 2010
and detailed reports and recommendations have been Group be used for this purpose.
produced. This issue is being taken seriously and the
documents are thorough. However we have reservations This needs to form part of a wider review for the

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about the process which has been recommended and
approved.
40. 12.7.5.5 We recommend that new, updated guidance notes be issued
to all web editors in the Directorates regarding corporate
standards of content production. The Directorates’ web
editors will then be responsible for adherence to those
ongoing management and governance of the site,
standards and considerable efficiencies will be achieved by
through the proposed Steering Group. There
content being delivered at Directorate level via the CMS.
should be a review of all site content with a view
41. 12.7.5.6 We recommend that an “Approval Required” list be produced to reducing the overall size of the site, ensuring
of all key and most-visited pages and sent to all Directorates content is customer driven (not service area) and
for comment and agreement. Once agreed, it will then be adheres to the highest standards.
clear which pages cannot be edited and published at web
editor level.

Any pages not on this list should be capable of being edited


and immediately published by the web editors, and could be
reviewed on a sampling basis by the Customer Services team.

Accessibility Recommendations
42. 13.4.2.1 We recommend that the BCC’s Corporate Accessible We support this recommendation. July 2010
Information Officer be appointed to the proposed Web
Steering Group or any other such body which becomes
responsible for decision-making regarding the BCC website.

43. 13.4.2.2 The ‘accessibility’ information needs to be changed as a We support this recommendation. Revised July 2010
matter of urgency as it is unacceptable. The accessibility link content is in progress however resource
in the top banner of every page needs to link to a page pressures as a result of the Customer First Rollout
providing the information normally expected by persons with and subsequent stabilisation has taken
disabilities. precedence. Head of Customer Service Delivery
is to review with the Self Service team with a view
to agreeing a date.
44. 13.4.2.3 Implement font-size and colour options, in the same way that This functionality will be implemented as part of March 2011
‘Adult Care in Brum’ have done. This example is shown the ongoing development of the website.
below:-

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Font Size

You can use the icons above to change the text size

Contrast

You can use the icons above to change the colour


contrast settings. If you wish to remove all the images
from the site and view it as text only you can also
choose that option.

45. 13.4.2.4 Validate the code of all key pages using We support this recommendation. Revised March 2011
http://validator.w3.org/ , and place the W3C validation icon in content is in progress however resource
the footer:- pressures as a result of the Customer First Rollout
and subsequent stabilisation has taken
precedence. Head of Customer Service Delivery
is to review with the Self Service team with a view
to agreeing a date.

These changes will be planned in conjunction with


Service Birmingham.
46. 13.4.2.5 Request Service Birmingham to confirm the rating which has We support this recommendation. This will form March 2011
been achieved. part of the overall review with Service Birmingham
and any changes will be planned in conjunction
with Service Birmingham. New content pages
added as part of the Customer First Rollout have
improve accessibility and are likely to support an
enhanced rating, but this is not consistent across
the site.
Much of the existing content will need to be
revised to ensure it complies with accessibility

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standards in terms of understandability as well as
technically. Implementation of this corporately will
be overseen by the Web Steering Group
47. 13.4.2.6 Implement Browsealoud – the spoken system recommended We support this recommendation. Revised March 2011
by the RNIB – or a similar system. content is in progress however resource
pressures as a result of the Customer First Rollout
and subsequent stabilisation has taken
precedence. Head of Customer Service Delivery
is to review with the Self Service team with a view
to agreeing a date.

These changes will be planned in conjunction with


Service Birmingham.
48. 13.4.2.7 Consider multi-language pages for key sections of the site or Multi-language content (which provides an March 2011
create a single multi-language page with contact details overview of how to contact us, language services
leading to Council staff versed in several languages. etc.) went live with rollout one of Customer First
th
on 18 March – some languages remain to be
added (total of 31 pages were created). Head of
Customer Service Delivery to agree timescales for
adding remainder.

All recommendations will be implemented within existing resources.

The monitoring of the implementation of this Action Plan lies with the web Steering Group.

20 May 2010

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