It’s been just over a month since our last team update so there’s penty of stuff to catch up on. There’d be even more but it’s difficult to work with an ice cream in one hand and a refreshing cold drink (definitely non alcoholic) in the other, whilst sat on the beach – only kidding!
The projects have been coming thick and fast meaning we’ve had a real balancing act to perform involving our longer term ambitions for the website and some immediate ‘Do it now! (please)’ tasks. We’ve found this to be fairly challenging – each team in our Comms department has their own priorities within the wider communications plan and they are also subject to last minute pleas of help from services around the council and we’ve had to work hard to keep everybody happy! By and large I think we’ve been successful.
More details regarding the projects we’ve completed recently, those in development and various other things we’ve been up to can be found below.
June was also the month of Create / Innovate and you can read Carl’s reflections on the XJamGov event which was held here in Exeter. Carl has been out and about quite a bit recently; speaking on the panel at a Digital Inclusion event at BT Tower, attending the LGA Annual Conference and also taking part in a digital skills jam. We’ve included a couple of Carl’s sketches from these events.
Projects and Plans
In the last blog post we talked about building new websites for Fostering and Adoption in Devon. Devon Adoption has now been launched and Devon Fostering is not far behind. Devon Adoption also has the honour of being our first site to include a Google custom search.
We have a number of other sites still at the Beta stage of development, most of which I will have mentioned in previous posts. The site perhaps nearest to completion is Cycle Devon which has been promoted in its Beta state and is currently gathering feedback. There are still bits and pieces for us to work on but we feel it’s quite a big improvement on the existing Cycle Devon website.
Recently we have been working with 2 of our district councils, helping them to develop their own news centres. We launched our news centre some time ago and are really pleased that North Devon and Mid Devon have now gone live with their own versions, based on our original theme.
As always, Tim and Matt are extemely busy behind the scenes adding some functionality to this site or updating a theme on that site. And what they don’t know about custom post types just isn’t worth knowing! We created a basic theme a while ago which has now been used on various sites, for example Rushbrook Community Hub and more recently Devon Funding News (beta). Just last week Tim was asked (told) to develop this theme in order to include custom colours and header. He was more than happy to do this and set about the task whistling a merry tune and before we knew it, it was done. On a serious note, we know that the more flexible we build our themes and templates the more people can essentially help themselves and we avoid having to spend time developing bespoke sites.
Lore and I have been as busy as always dealing with publishing requests for our public and staff sites.
Russ is continuing to spend a lot of his time meeting with colleagues across the council to discuss the wider implementation of our recently procured Gov Delivery platform. The initial focus over and above migrating a bunch of newsletters across is to look at how we can improve and bring together the wide variety of content that emerges during emergencies – this includes school closures, school transport, winter emergencies, highways and roads so it should be a really valuable service when we aim to launch it in the autumn
Russ also planned and delivered a Crisis Comms event recently which looked at how the council might deal with a flooding emergency in Devon, specifically focusing on Twitter as a communication channel. Russ assures us that he has a blog post of his own on this subject in the pipeline and will be publishing it shortly.
Sam’s photography skills have been in demand of late and just recently he was on duty for the visit of the Earl of Wessex to Exeter where he opened the new Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre.