Astun Technology Automates Council Newsletters

Bath and North East Somerset Council has introduced a new automated newsletter service to over 8,000 of its citizens. The service is provided by Astun Technology's iShare data integration and publishing platform which already facilitates access to Council information, maps and services via the Council's website. The new 'My News' module in iShare now provides the Council with complete control over the information it actively sends out to citizens who have subscribed to their news services.

Bath and North East Somerset Council currently puts out three email newsletters, one controlled by Communications and Marketing which contains general Council news and goes out weekly. Sports Development has a campaign called 'Get Active' which keeps people who have registered informed about special offers such as discounted entry to swimming pools, keep fit programmes, current events (i.e. Bath Half Marathon) plus tips, advice and information on how to get and stay active. Their monthly newsletter is the main conduit for this information. Lastly there is Waste and Re-cycling which puts out a newsletter every quarter.

All of these newsletters are created from content already generated by the Council and posted to its website but this relies on citizens visiting the website to stay informed. Sometime ago Communications and Marketing decided to engage in an active newsletter program to push this information out to citizens by email and used an external contractor to manage the process. Returning control to the Council and cutting costs were the main drivers behind this initiative.

Departments create content on the Council website using the established content management system. The newsletters re-use this content by taking a specially configured feed from the website straight into iShare. This is then used to configure the 'look and feel' of the newsletter which is emailed direct to registered users. Sending the newsletters can be completely automated or scheduled. At a stroke this gives the Council full control over content and publishing without the need for an externally managed service.

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