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- Cheltenham Borough Council implements new website as part of Web 2.0 strategy

The emergence of social networking and Web 2.0 is providing major opportunities for councils to engage and empower their citizens. A Web 2.0 strategy provides an important delivery mechanism for encouraging local decision making, a key aspect of the recent government White Paper ‘Communities in Control: Real people, Real power’. This aims to shift more power to communities and citizens; generate vibrant democracy and give citizens increased control over local decisions and services.

John Steed, Head of Service Development at Cheltenham Borough Council sees the Council’s new web site and its Web 2.0 strategy as being at the core of Cheltenham’s transformation.

“Our principal driver is the customer and our wish to be open, transparent and accessible. Access to information is power and social networking is at the core of this initiative. We are very keen that this should not just be a site for the council – it should be a site for Cheltenham that opens a dialogue with the visitor and provides a strong sense of place,” says John Steed.

Cheltenham Borough Council is leading the way in delivering these vision and has recently replaced its web content management system and adopted a Web 2.0 strategy to enable this objective and to ‘deliver the council that never closes’. Key criteria for this new initiative included the need to meet government accessibility standards and to provide systems that were easy to use, navigate and update for citizen and council staff.

To meet this challenge, Cheltenham selected Jadu CMS for its functionality and intuitive capabilities; a Web 2.0 strategy and Jadu Galaxies to support the management of satellite council offices such as Cheltenham Borough Homes which manages a number of separate sites for Council Housing.

“Jadu was the all round winner for richness in features, flexibility and functionality. It was also very intuitive to use for those building and maintaining the website There has been massive enthusiasm for this project and we have had people queuing up to be content editors. Some CMS solutions dictate what the site will look like but not so with Jadu. The look and feel is entirely under our control,” says John Steed.

Cheltenham initially discovered the power of Web 2.0 in July 2007, as a result of the flooding when the Council found that its old web site was not capable of responding to the flow of news and information that occurred. The Council set up a ‘flood blog’ to provide a responsive and fast service to residents and this was so successful that within hours they had an approach from BBC Radio Five Live for an interview.

This initial development has triggered widespread adoption of Web 2.0 by Council staff and the public. This however requires a very different approach to finding information and Jadu is working with Cheltenham to enable this new way of working.

Suraj Kika, CEO of Jadu says, “The Cheltenham website will break a mould with how Local Government engages with its customers on the web. The site focuses on delivering actual content generated by members of the community who really have something to say or something to show. You can publish images to the Cheltenham Flickr feed and movies through the Cheltenham YouTube channel – directly to the Council’s site, all controlled via the CMS.”

“We can no longer expect people to come to us, we have to go to where they are talking. We already have a lot of content on Flickr and we also want to exploit YouTube. People may never visit our site but they will know about its content. This is a very different approach and Jadu is enabling us to achieve this,” says John Steed.

Ends

About Cheltenham Borough Council

Cheltenham Borough Council is a district council in Gloucestershire. It serves a population of some 111,000 residents and employs 600 staff. The borough is based on the town of Cheltenham and is mainly urban with some areas of surrounding countryside. It covers an area of approximately 4,680 hectares of which 17 percent is designated as green belt and 22 percent as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Cheltenham is a unique historic town and has the most complete Regency town centre in England Cheltenham is also a cultural centre hosting an impressive calendar of international festivals and special events. With business productivity at a higher level than the national average, Cheltenham has a thriving economy and is home to around 4,000 businesses.
Cheltenham lies some five kilometres to the east of the M5 motorway mid-way between Bristol and Birmingham on the edge of the Cotswold Hills.

Further information on Cheltenham Borough Council can be found at: www.cheltenham.gov.uk. Contact - Laura Carter, Communications Officer, telephone 01242 775037, email laura.carter@cheltenham.gov.uk

About Jadu

Jadu helps businesses and public sector organisations to create and manage their online channel quickly, simply and cost effectively. Jadu was formed in 2001 to provide Content Management Systems(CMS) for government organisations. Since its first major implementation for BERR in 2002, Jadu has evolved further and been implemented for hundreds of private and public sector organisations across the UK.

Providing a refreshing approach to Enterprise Content Management, Jadu offers ground-breaking functionality including integrated Online forms, Google searches, user intelligence and full statistical reporting, full standards compliance, product and catalogue management with a host of other web productivity tools and unparalleled support service.

Further information on Jadu can be found at: www.jadu.co.uk
Contact - christine@jadu.co.uk or pr@jadu.co.uk, telephone 0116 253 3423 or PR contact Phil Szomszor on 0207 282 1053.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Citigate Dewe Rogerson (London) in the following categories: Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.