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Council Moves Into CMS Market

eGov monitor Weekly

2 December 2002

Canterbury City Council has developed a new content management system (CMS) for local government which it is offering to councils at a fraction of the cost of commercial products currently available.

The system, designed specifically for use by local authorities, has already been "snapped up" by several councils with many more expressing interest, a Canterbury spokesman told eGov monitor Weekly. Revenue generated by sales is to be ploughed back into eGovernment initiatives and further development of the system.

The Council decided to design and build their own CMS as a lower-cost alternative to a vendor solution, completing the project in just two-and-a-half months.

"We looked at various content management systems and adopted the best elements from each", said Marc P Summers, Canterbury's Web and Intranet Development Manager. "The Government is demanding all authorities provide services online by 2005, so councils need to have in place top quality CMS. Off-the-shelf commercial packages can be time-consuming, over-complicated and not every local authority can afford the level of investment that is often required."

The Council's in-house solution has been designed for ease of use and offers features including browser-based editing tools, workflow systems, database integration and dynamic page generation.

The CMS, including installation, training and the source code, is priced at £10,000, comparing favourably with the licensing costs of similar products by major commercial suppliers and also allowing an unlimited number of users.

As the software is written completely in open source, other local authorities can add their own features as required or integrate the CMS with other third-party software packages. Councils can also receive monthly upgrades for an additional fee.

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