NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre

Unifying intranet for a large and diverse public body

Netsight has worked with many organisations within the UK Department of Health, including the Information Centre, Connecting for Health (CfH), and a variety of local authorities. In 2013 the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was formed and Netsight were appointed to develop an intranet for the new body, which would see thousands of staff brought together from different organisations and within a diverse technology landscape.

The project began with a consultancy phase centred around designing a unified information architecture for the new organisation, which would accommodate the different requirements of the constituent organisations. We undertook a detailed analysis of the existing intranet structure and usage, and then ran a day-long workshop for key stakeholders; this workshop included a number of user-centered design activities focused around the design of a new intranet architecture.

HSCIC intranet planning workshop
After these consultations were complete, a number of core requirements were identified, and the design process began. A vital aspect of the project was the need for the new intranet to provide a clear, consistent, user-friendly “layer” on top of a variety of existing, disparate systems, including a substantial Sharepoint deployment.
We used our intraCORE platform to deliver one of the key requirements of editorial “push” content, seamlessly integrated with community-driven content (comments, forums, blogs, etc.).

intraCORE also allowed us to create a completely bespoke ‘theme’ for the new intranet, precisely aligned to the HSCIC’s values and messages. The underlying Plone CMS also allowed us to solve technical challenges such as providing single sign-on against the various Windows domains within the organisation, combined with authentication against Active Directory.

The project went from initial consultations to phase-one launch in just three months. In addition, intraCORE’s simple open-source licence model also allows for any number of users, so there were no complex per-seat, per-month fees to consider when rolling the platform out to a large userbase.


The intranet is hosted on-premises within HSCIC internal network, but is maintained and supported by Netsight remotely via a comprehensive support package.

Netsight continues to develop the platform as business requirements dictate, including making the entire interface responsive and optimised for mobile devices.

I want to thank you all personally for the tremendous effort that you’ve put into our new intranet …

Feedback generally here is incredibly positive. I spent half an hour with the chief executive today walking him through the site and he is very pleased indeed with it.

Internal Communications Manager, NHS HSCIC



Plone, intraCORE, Python, MySQL, responsive design, SSO, Active Directory / SharePoint integration, Apache, HAProxy, Varnish