Just before I went on holiday, I spent a bit of time one evening researching what content management systems (CMSs) are used by local councils in the UK. A CMS is the software that runs a website, just in case you didn’t know.
The results can be found in this Google Spreadsheet, as well as the summary pie chart above. There’s been a lot of discussion about it on Twitter, which you can follow up from the replies to my original tweet.
I need to give a big thanks to everyone who has helped fill in some of the blanks, but a special thank you to Colin Stenning from Bracknell Forest Council, who has combined some previously research he has done, as well as making other updates to clean the whole thing up a lot better.
- Jadu is the current market leader, with their own commercial product. 70 councils use it, according to the data at the time of writing
- Umbraco and Drupal are next, showing a strong use of open source software in the sector. These numbers could potentially increase in the next year, particularly with the LocalGovDrupal project proving very popular. Of course, these open source systems will be supported by a range of different agencies and suppliers. It’s hard to estimate the potential size and variety in this market.
- GOSS ICM comes next, the fourth most popular in total and the second most popular commercial system
- Then there’s a bit of a drop, and the Consensis CMS comes next.
- There are several other open source CMSs in use, including WordPress, Squiz, DNN, Liferay and Joomla
- There are a couple of councils who appear to be rolling their own CMS rather than using something prebuilt (whether commercial or open source). This strikes me as being rather eccentric, but I’m sure they have their reasons.
The answer for poor council websites?
Finally, and most troubling, on my late night wanderings through the world of local council websites, I came across some that are simply dreadful. There are always reasons for these things, of course, and I wouldn’t want to directly criticise any council or team. Cash strapped local authorities can’t afford the web teams or the technology to do much more.
However, there are solutions out there to help. LocalGovDrupal is shaping up to be the council-website-in-a-box that could solve the problem. Or why not take a leaf out of Tewkesbury’s book, and use the £250 a year SquareSpace service? Yes, opportunities for customisation are limited, but at that price you get something modern, responsive and effective – and zero technical hassle.
I took the URLs for the websites of all councils in the UK from this list on the LGA website. It would appear that it isn’t up to date and misses
Those URLs I chucked into a batch process on whatcms.org (it cost me $10). That detected 257 CMSs. I then started visiting each site that was missing, and checked to see for credits on the site itself or clues in the source code and caught another 50 or so. Since sharing the work on Twitter and other places, some folk have come forward to fill in some other blanks, and thanks to Colin there are almost none left now.