Force website alpha is go!


Hi, I’m Paul and I’m the delivery manager for the police force website alpha project. Over the next few months I’ll be blogging about the project and the progress we make.

Firstly, thanks to Simon Cole for introducing the project in his vlog post.

A large part of Policing’s digital offer is through local force websites and these sites are important as a ‘front door’ to policing digital services. One of the main objectives of the Digital Public Contact programme is to understand what the future looks like for force websites.

With 43 separate police force websites currently operating, there is a real opportunity to improve users’ experience by introducing commonality across sites and investigating whether a single hosting platform for force websites is possible.

To investigate the options, a two-week discovery project was undertaken in April working with Thames Valley Police (TVP) and Hampshire Constabulary (HC). The aim of the discovery process was firstly to identify requirements for a single platform for force websites and secondly to understand a ‘minimal viable product’ for local force websites on this platform.

The discovery recommendations were to:

  • Move into an Alpha phase that will prototype the development a hosting environment for local force websites.
  • Prototype in Alpha the minimum viable product for a local force website hosted via the platform, working with TVP and HC as a proof of concept.
  • Prototype in Alpha what content needs to be local and what needs to be national.
  • Prototype in Alpha a set of standardised templates for local forces.

Moving to alpha

We started the alpha project in August to deliver the recommendations outlined above. The alpha will run for 20 weeks and we’re working with TVP and HC to deliver a single platform to host their websites and build new force websites for both forces.

We’re a delivery-focused team and are working to tight timescales, so we are running this project using agile project management techniques in two-week sprints of work.

Our ambition is to pass the Home Office digital service standards and deliver working solutions in a timely manner, all driven by the needs of our users. We hope to have the working, integrated force websites live in early 2017.

We’re now a couple of months into the project and we have spent a lot of time researching user requirements and designing solutions. In simple terms we’re following a repeatable process of research, design, test and iterate. This means that we can be confident that we are meeting the needs of our users.

In my next post I’ll share some of the techniques we’re using to research and test solutions.

Paul Hosking