Kent County Council

Kent Connects – Kent County Council

Secure portal for local government information-sharing partnership

Kent Connects is a strategic information-sharing portal originally created in 2007 by Kent County Council (KCC) to enable local government partnerships to work collaboratively in ways that improve services. As explained in a previous case study, “Kent Connects is an award-winning partnership of … public service providers. Together we tackle the technological barriers to the joining up and sharing of public services. We do this through co-ordinated research and development, commissioning and procurement and networking and training events. We also provide a number of partnership services.”
Kent Connects
When the Kent Connects project team approached Netsight in 2008, its information-sharing portal site (previously developed in-house by KCC staff) was being used by approximately 20 local government groups and needed to be upgraded and redesigned so that its ‘portal of portals’ structure would become more scalable and efficient to manage.

Netsight reviewed the existing portal sites and worked closely with stakeholders in recommending and implementing a new portal content type, a single configuration for all portals to increase the efficiency of platform administration, more fine-grained access control based on workgroups and workflow management, and an improved subscriptions system. After making these changes in 2008, Netsight continued to work closely with the Kent Connects project team as the number of portals and the range of content shared grew steadily. Over the next years, Netsight continued to host the site in its data centre and to provide on-going support.

During 2014 Netsight again worked closely with the Kent Connects project team on a major upgrade. Responding to a detailed specification of requirements, Netsight planned and delivered a range of enhancements that include: strengthened security to satisfy IL2 requirements (compliance with ISO 27001 standards); refined usability (responsive design templates, automatically adapting to various screen sizes on computers and mobile devices); more powerful search and ‘Activity Stream’ filters (highlighting most relevant content, based on workgroup context and user preferences); streamlined administration (simplified processes for managing user accounts); more useful ‘Help’ resources; browser-independent bookmarking (so that users can keep track of key information across various devices). As part of this upgrade work, Netsight managed large-scale migrations of portal content securely, accurately and transparently to end-users, ensuring (via carefully planned 301 redirects) that upon re-launch the experience of using the upgraded platform was as smooth and easy and rewarding as possible. Following the upgrade, Netsight again worked closely with the Kent Connects project team to monitor and to tweak platform performance to support more intensive usage.

Netsight provides dedicated managed hosting and ongoing maintenance and 24/7 support for the live and staging Kent Connects portals, hosted within its ISO 27001 certified data centre.