Calderdale Council

Client Challenge 

In 2023, the Borough Council of Calderdale identified a critical need for an updated, comprehensive digital platform to support the Family Hubs initiative. This initiative aimed to streamline access to health education, childcare resources, and community services for families and professionals within Calderdale. The existing digital resources were fragmented, outdated, and lacked the interactive features necessary to meet the evolving needs of the community, particularly in the face of the ongoing adjustments to public health guidance.

The council faced challenges including inadequate user engagement, difficulties in managing and updating content, and a lack of integration with social media platforms. Additionally, there was a pressing need for a secure e-referral system, online booking capabilities, and a resource repository tailored for health education and childcare professionals.

Client Opportunity

The Borough Council of Calderdale sought a partner capable of delivering a comprehensive digital solution that would not only address the current limitations but also position the Family Hubs initiative for future growth and enhancement. In Gemstone, Calderdale found a collaborator with a proven track record in agile development, user-centered design, and the expertise to integrate a wide range of technologies and platforms.

Gemstone was tasked with creating a unified, user-friendly digital hub that would support interactive virtual services, a dynamic newsfeed, integrated social media channels, and advanced search capabilities. The project also required building a backend infrastructure capable of supporting a secure e-referral system, an online booking system, and a private section for professionals with specialized resources and tools.

Our Solution

Unified Public-Facing Website: Developed a modern, CMS-driven platform that seamlessly integrated a wide array of services and features, including social media feeds, an advanced search engine, and a secure e-referral facility. The solution was built on WordPress with custom pages designed for easy navigation and user engagement.

Interactive Virtual Services: We are implementing interactive community forums, direct messaging capabilities, and event booking using integrated technologies like bbPress, Pusher Chatkit, and the Eventbrite. This is designed to facilitate enhanced community engagement and support.

Comprehensive Backend Support: To ensure the smooth operation and scalability of the Family Hubs platform, we established a cloud-based infrastructure with robust security measures, including TLS encryption and secure HTML forms. On the backend we are also developing a detailed audit facility and interactive survey results reporting, utilising Power BI for data visualization and analytics.

The Results

The digital transformation of the Family Hubs Calderdale platform resulted in a significantly improved user experience. The integration of interactive virtual services and a dynamic newsfeed will keep the community informed and involved, while the secure online booking and e-referral systems are streamlining access to critical services. The backend infrastructure provided the Council with the tools necessary for efficient resource management and data analysis, leading to informed decision-making and service improvements.

As a testament to our successful collaboration and the effectiveness of the new platform, user feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with significant increases in the utilization of online resources and services. The Family Hubs initiative is now better equipped to meet the needs of Calderdale families and childcare professionals, with a flexible, future-proof digital platform.

Related Services
  • Web development 
  • Digital transformation
Web Design & Development