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A leading light in local authority digital communications - Bracknell Forest Council

In May 2018, Bracknell Forest Council Chief Executive Timothy Wheadon joined Invotra Chief Operating Officer Paul Zimmerman to officially launch the council’s new intranet service, called DORIS, to employees.

The Digital Services team demonstrated some of the key functionality of DORIS to staff such as news, directories and collaboration tools to help engage employees and encourage communication across departments and locations.

Bracknell Forest Council celebrating the launch of DORIS their new Invotra intranet

This launch was a celebration of the hard work undertaken by the Digital Services Team, headed up by Colin Stenning, Digital Services Manager.  He talks about how the relationship with intranet provider Invotra came about and how it works in practice.

Colin is responsible for managing the Digital Services team and overseeing the development of a range of digital services, including the Council’s public website, intranet and associated web applications.

The reasons behind changing the existing intranet.

The project is part of the Council’s wider digital transformation programme. The old intranet had been in place for over 10 years and was no longer fit for purpose. It needed to be modernised to fit into the council’s new ways of working, in particular enabling staff to self-serve.

The existing intranet was merely a one-way information resource, providing no opportunities for staff to collaborate or communicate with each other. It was also labour-intensive to update and maintain. The software used to create intranet content was not intuitive, meaning that training and ongoing publishing support was required.

How did you choose your new supplier and what features made it stand out?

We sourced a new supplier via the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace. We were attracted to Invotra because:        

  • The platform has been developed with Government in mind and is already being used by 45% of central government    

  • The council needed to be able to implement a new intranet within 2-3 months and Invotra’s ‘Software as a service’ (SaaS) platform enables intranet to be rapidly implemented and deployed

  • Its social and collaboration tools enable staff to work together and interact with each other on an individual and group basis  

  • It uses existing people data to drive a range of directory-based features that will help staff to connect with each other and exchange information, skills and experience

How is the new intranet service helping today?

The new Invotra service:

  • provides a self-service platform – the intranet enables staff to access information and signposting to online applications where staff can interact online

  • increases efficiency as online self-service reduces pressure on service teams who currently receive service requests via phone or email

  • provides collaboration tools to boost engagement – the intranet offers access to a range of collaborative tools, such as blogs, feeds, message walls, forums and polls.  These features allow staff to interact online and solve issues with the help of others in the organisation

  • provides a clean, functional and easy to use design – the intranet is straightforward to use so that staff can quickly and easily find information

  • provides an intelligent, tailored search – helps staff by providing the ability to easily search for people, teams, content and locations, without the need to contact departments so encouraging, and supporting, self-service

  • provides flexibility to access the intranet on devices such as desktop PC, mobile or tablet, at various office locations and on the move

  • support the council’s new way of working as identified during the Council Wide Support Services project review.  As such ,it will facilitate delivery of real benefits as identified in that project to achieve savings in how services are delivered

What features are working well?

The collaborative features are beneficial to staff. In addition, via the new intranet the digital services team has created:

  • new content for all service areas

  • a staff directory, populated with key contact information

  • news section

  • groups, notifications and feeds

  • blogs     

  • social features: message wall, ideas, forums

Bracknell Forest Council's logo

“We have found the experience of transforming our intranet to be very positive. The team at Invotra has been extremely helpful and supportive and we appreciate their positive, can do attitude.”