Joint Nature Conservation Committee looks to meet Government Digital Service standards and move away from content management system it has been running since 2005
A key government advisory body is to overhaul its website for the first time in seven years, after acknowledging that its existing home is eating up “significant staff resource” and failing “to meet the specific needs of key target audiences”.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the primary source of independent advice to ministers on conservation work in both the UK and overseas. The Peterborough-based body supports policy development and collects and shares data on biodiversity.
The JNCC’s current website iteration – launched in 2011 – receives around 6m page views a year, including from academics and researchers.
However, in a tender published on the Contracts Finder website, the committee says that the site’s more than 4,000 pages are “making navigation difficult”, and it admits that the site is “not sufficiently customer-focused”.
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The current site is not mobile-responsive, and the JNCC is currently running a Content Management System introduced in 2005, which the advisory body acknowledges is now “at end of life”.
Outlining its aims for the new site in its tender notice, the JNCC says it “requires a website that is accessible and useful to our wide-range of key stakeholders”.
“It should be relevant for all visitors, be they members of the general public, a company or institution for example, that may not be familiar with JNCC and have not visited the site before.
“Equally, it needs to be relevant for current users who are familiar with the website and know where to go to find information and what information is available. It is vital we do not exclude any of our key stakeholders and have a website that can showcase the work we do to new and existing stakeholders.”
The JNCC makes clear that it wants to drastically slim down its thousands of pages to no more than 250, with the existing data sets used by researchers hived off into their own dedicated “Data Hub”, which it says must include “a simple search interface”.
“In addition, the contract and development work must be carried out using an Agile methodology and meet Government Digital Service standards for accessibility,” the JNCC says. “To comply with the government’s digital rules, there will also be a requirement to iterate the website as user needs arise.”
The committee has earmarked £15,000 for the design aspect of the contract, with £30,000 set aside for development. As part of that, suppliers will be asked to provide ongoing support until 2021, with the site itself expected to launch by July of this year.