An all in one package for content management and collaboration. 

Surrey County Council is responsible for more than a million residents in the area. It aims to deliver a joined up approach across each of the 11 local boroughs and districts, providing local residents with the best value public service. 

Surrey County Council was looking to improve collaboration in its area so that each of the 11 local boroughs and districts could work together on key projects across the region. The organisation had previously relied on email but due to the sheer number of documents that needed to be shared with internal and external parties this was no longer a viable option for the projects the council had in mind.

Justin Wood, Technical Specialist at Surrey County Council, explains: “We needed a tool that would allow us to manage online communities and work effectively with our partners, enabling them to collaborate more effectively with other districts and borough councils across Surrey. Trying to coordinate this over email simply wouldn’t have been possible and we started to research easy-to-use platforms that would enable us to securely store, share and collaborate on documents online.”

Supporting secure cross-firewall collaboration

The council carried out a full market investigation to establish the platforms on offer. The platform had to offer social functions, such as commenting on content, meet public sector security requirements for data and support cross-firewall collaboration with external parties. 

“We have monthly meetings at different locations and people are hard pressed for time. So we were looking for a way to innovate and include people in a more effective and efficient way as well as increasing the ability for everyone to contribute,” explains David Teeman, Research Manager. “A secure virtual environment like Huddle was ideal for what we had in mind.”

“We did a review of the other products and Huddle was the best fit for our requirements and had pan government accreditation at IL2,” said Justin Wood, Technical Specialist. “It’s easy to set up and people in the council are already making it their own by using the customisation tools.”

All in one package

Providing an all in one package for content management and collaboration, Huddle enables Surrey County Council to set up workspaces for each project and department and invite the relevant internal teams and external departments to join. The council can also control who can view and edit certain documents, ensuring the required levels of security. 

“The group is consultative and directional as well as the governance group,” continued David Teeman, Research Manager. “We are going through a period of planning and the ability to share background data, plans and designs is essential. Huddle allows us to share documents and also acts as an active discussion forum so we can give feedback on them straight away. It provides us with a great place to exchange ideas and communicate with each other.”

“The platform is intuitive to use and you can cherry pick the bits you need from it by turning off certain features. It’s essential that we have something that’s easy to use, with minimum training needed. The burden on us to coordinate things has been massively reduced already. In terms of resource, the return on investment is immediately apparent.” 

“There is certainly a demand for this sort of product and this way of working. Although the cultural shift in the public sector workplace is going to take a while to get going, we are already moving in the right direction,” said Justin Wood.

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