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LocalGov Drupal CMS (Discovery, Alpha & Beta)

Agile Collective has been the lead technical partner for the LocalGov Drupal project since January 2020.

We’ve driven technical development of the distribution through the Discovery, Alpha and Beta stages, and we continue to hold the development and maintenance contract.

We love collaborating with councils and other suppliers to build new features and functionality to improve the distribution. We are incredibly proud of all the work we’ve done so far on the project.

Learn more about the LocalGov Drupal CMS and our part in building the distribution below.

About the LocalGov Drupal CMS

LocalGov Drupal is the publishing platform for local government – created by councils (and their suppliers) for council. It's specifically designed to meet the needs of local councils and their service users.

It’s an open-source content management system (CMS) based on the Drupal framework.

It’s a co-operatively run asset and community that delivers a better digital experience for citizens, improves service outcomes, and saves money.

It was developed to empower local governments to build and maintain websites efficiently and effectively.

It's built and maintained by a community of developers, content designers and digital leaders from local councils across the UK, including ourselves.

It has benefited from significant funding from central government and user and accessibility research from multiple participating councils (and their suppliers).

Over 43 councils are already using the platform, with many more sites due to go live over the coming months.

The problem for councils and the origin of LocalGov Drupal

In its initial phase, the project was an informal code-sharing agreement between Brighton & Hove Council and Croydon Council.

They were trying to address the fact that councils were continually reinventing the wheel. Despite most councils offering similar services, they spent millions on new websites and user research.

Sharing code (and the user research underpinning them) enabled these councils to cut costs and use templates applicable across council services.

This successful arrangement between the councils demonstrated the potential for more councils to use the same code.

Those involved sought funding from central government for a feasibility study for a more formalised code-sharing project with collaboration between council digital teams at its centre.

Vertical iPad previewing Lambeth Libraries Directory
Lambeth council fostering service page on a tablet computer
Quote slide from report: "we've all got the same underlying challenges and we need to do more with less." "If we open sourced this tomorrow, I'd have no problem with it." "We want to collaborate, but we also must be able to do our thing from time to time."


The project took a giant leap forward when the Local Digital Fund backed a Discovery phase to look at the potential to engage more councils in the project.

The funding allowed us to understand and explore how to scale up the project.

Our involvement began with our appointment as the lead technical partner for a 6-week Discovery phase in January 2020.

Our work on technical development and strategy included: 

  • auditing and improving the existing codebase 
  • establishing technical standards and 
  • recommending the distribution pathway

We also took the lead in establishing a governance framework for council participation. You can read more about this here >

At the end of the phase, Will Callaghan, Product Lead for LocalGov Drupal, produced an excellent Discovery Report detailing the impressive amount of work that the four partner councils (Brighton & Hove, Croydon, Bracknell Forest and Oxford City Council), Agile Collective, and research partner DXW, managed to deliver.


Following a successful bid to the Local Digital Fund for Alpha funding and with four more councils joining our growing LocalGov Drupal community, we embarked on a series of 10 sprints from the beginning of May to mid-October 2020.

These focused on: 

  • refactoring code
  • improving the core features of the product
  • making it easier for new councils to start using the distribution

During this period, we also helped to: 

  • establish the Product and Technical Groups to steer different aspects of the work
  • conducted research into the barriers to adopting LocalGov Drupal for new councils (alongside Telltale Research)
  • created a public roadmap for the product

Two more councils came on board during the Alpha, including Waltham Forest and our client, Lambeth Council.

We subsequently helped Lambeth Council transition to LocalGov Drupal in late 2020. 


With increased funding from the Local Digital Fund and a new host council, Cumbria, we started our work on the Beta in April 2021.

We again delivered 10 sprints, this time running from May to October.

With an expanded development team,  we worked alongside Will and an ever-growing number of new councils and their suppliers.

Finn, our technical and delivery lead for LocalGov Drupal, produced detailed Sprint notes throughout the beta phase.

You can read these here:

Sprint Notes 1
Sprint Notes 2
Sprint Notes 3
Sprint Notes 4
Sprint Notes 5
Sprint Notes 6
Sprint Notes 7
Sprint Notes 8
Sprint Notes 9
Sprint Notes 10

His final notes for Sprint 10 capture the growing maturity of the distribution from both a technical and governance perspective.

They also show our understanding of council needs along with the excitement we all felt as the profile and credibility of LocalGov Drupal continued to grow.

The Beta also had a renewed focus on the future governance and sustainability of the distribution – including exploring the applicability of sociocratic principles to decision-making.

mobile view of Lambeth Council homepage
Lambeth council services page listing the council services in alphabetical order
Key finding slide from report: Councils are working towards a more sustainable approach for developing, maintaining and improving their websites

Benefits of LocalGov Drupal

With LocalGov Drupal now firmly established, councils can benefit from using the CMS in several ways.

Save money: LocalGov Drupal could reduce the cost of your website by up to 80%. That comes from lower upfront costs, fewer redevelopers, regularly released community-developed features, no licence fees, plus access to all the community-generated research and best practices.

Read more about the business case on the LocalGov Drupal site.

Feature-rich: With many crucial out-of-the-box features, such as service pages, step-by-step guides, subsites, and directories, LocalGov Drupal gives councils a flying headstart to rebuilding their sites. New features are released regularly, so your site can grow and improve over time - meaning this could be the last website you ever need.

Open source: The product is open source, meaning you can take the codebase and extend it to suit your needs.  A thriving community of councils and suppliers is actively working on LocalGov Drupal, so you have no fear of vendor lock-in.

Accessibility: The core distribution is monitored and tested for accessibility and constantly strives to improve. Building a site with LocalGov Drupal means that WCAG Level AA conformance is easily achievable.

Community: Your developers, content team and product managers will thank you for giving them access to some of the best, most generous minds working in local government.

Features of LocalGov Drupal

Front End Features

  • Subsites - used to create separately themed sections 
  • News - create a new section with news posts
  • Events - create events directories
  • Multiple types of alert banner 
  • Directories

Content Page types

  • Service landing pages 
  • Service pages
  • Guides 
  • Step by steps

Back end features

  • revisions and history module  
  • approvals dashboard  
  • large variety of patterns, styles and callouts


  • quick start install
  • modular architecture
  • automated testing
  • automated checks for coding standards


The LocalGov Drupal content and functionality is designed to meet or exceed WCAG 2.1 level AA. The project also has targets for the administration interface to meet or exceed level AA.



The future of LocalGov Drupal

The future looks bright for the LocalGov Drupal CMS and project, and we’re thrilled to participate in its continuing journey.

Not only is the product in great shape, with over 40 councils now participating, there’s a clear and compelling business case for more councils to adopt LocalGov Drupal. Plus, the more councils involved, the better LocalGov Drupal becomes – it’s a virtuous circle.

The project allows us to make an impact at scale by improving access to essential information and services for citizens around the UK.  In addition, it also substantially reduces website development costs for councils and increases the speed of their deployments.

We’ve also developed a new Microsites platform for LocalGov Drupal.

Free Consultation - Is LocalGov Drupal right for your council? 

Thanks to our involvement in LocalGov Drupal, we are uniquely positioned to help you on your LocalGov Drupal journey.

We think it’s fair to say that our team knows LocalGov Drupal inside-out.

But we also understand that choosing the right CMS can be time-consuming and costly.  

We’re happy to help you determine if LocalGov Drupal is right for you

Spoiler alert: We think it probably will be, and not just because we built it.

It’s currently the sector leading platform for local councils.

Those councils involved in the project have found it a cost-effective and user-friendly CMS.

In our free consultation, we’ll discuss your specific requirements and how to get the most out of the collaboration.

We can answer any questions and provide insights into how our approach can benefit you.

Email us now to book a session.

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