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How automated content migration saved months of manual work

The Rohallion team differs from other providers I’ve worked with because they listen and collaborate to find the right solution, not what’s best for them. I’d highly recommend them to other councils as they already have the essential background knowledge of local government processes.

Chris McEwan

Web Development Specialist

Westmorland and Furness Council

The Challenge

The merger of South Lakeland District, Eden District and Barrow in Furness Borough Councils into one authority - Westmorland & Furness Council, officially came together on the 1st of April 2023.

This consolidation presented a short-term challenge for Barrow in Furness Borough Council. Its website was running on the Easysite CMS, which was coming to the end of its life with no support available after three months. Barrow BC needed an interim solution to provide a secure and functional website for local residents until it became part of Westmorland & Furness Council’s combined online presence.

Leaving the existing site in place wasn’t a viable option due to:

  • Lack of security patches
  • The threat of DDoS attacks
  • Potential plugin vulnerabilities

The council also needed to allow enough time for content migration, so a new platform was needed.

The Solution

The other councils involved in the merger had already decided to switch from Umbraco to LocalGov Drupal for the unified website, so it made sense for Barrow BC’s only web developer, Chris McEwan, to create the bridge site on the same platform. This decision meant not having to completely rebuild and redesign the theme, saving approximately one month’s work.

It also helped with future efficiencies because, after the merger, there is one larger web team who all support each other with the ongoing development of the LocalGov Drupal site and share their learnings. In addition to the migration, we also worked on the council’s bin collection dates plugin. It wasn’t straightforward to migrate from Easysite due to the different programming languages used.

Rohallion managed our APIs and systems to adapt a plugin they’d created for other councils, and it connected brilliantly. We wouldn’t have had the capacity or knowledge to do this in-house. Everyone's delighted because it's a major improvement on the previous version.

Technology Used

Drupal logo and wordmark
LocalGov Drupal logo

The Impact

Chris's main website migration concern was the time it would take to move over from Easysite into LocalGov Drupal.

  • Around 1,000 content pages
  • PDFs and other documents
  • Multiple images
  • URL structures

Being a department of one and having several other responsibilities, manual migration would have created an unmanageable workload and high stress levels for Chris.

We expected to spend three to five months manually moving the content to the new site. Rohallion’s automation of the migration process was a lifesaver and meant we could focus more of our time on other aspects of the new Westmorland & Furness Council website.

Client Feedback

Our understanding of how local government works meant we could make life easier for Chris in the short term and the rest of the team pre- and post-merger. Everyone involved has given us positive feedback on the process and are looking forward to working together on maintenance and new LocalGov Drupal sites in the future.

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