Crown Prosecution Service News Website

News is a vital part of the way the Crown Prosecution Service communicates with employees, stakeholders and the general public. Press releases don't exist in isolation, they are part of a wide ranging communications strategy, and we wanted this to manifest itself more fully when someone reads a press release within the CPS website. We achieved this with a more thought-through provision of information, linked to from news articles.

cps.co.uk/news

Crown Prosecution Service Press Office

Adding value

The public need to understand how individual press releases fit into a broader CPS ethos, and we proposed a systematic way of creating this understanding by adding more information to the press release templates, and creating more information to link the press releases to. The project to develop a new media section for the Crown Prosecution Service website had the following objectives:

  1. Proactively deliver information about the CPS, news, aims, objectives and performance information to journalists and the general public who are interested in press releases and news,
  2. Improve the journalists and the general public's understanding of the role and responsibility of the CPS locally and nationally,
  3. Enable media professionals to contact the press office for more information,
  4. Demonstrate the CPS commitment to Freedom of information through clarity and active delivery of information to visitors,
  5. Maximise the ability of the CPS to positively influence public opinion,
  6. Provide information in a variety of formats, including video and sound, to ensure that as many people as possible are able to understand it.

Value can been added to press releases and statements by the use of side bars linking to relevant legal guidance, publications, reports and statistics, fact sheets, video, sound, other press releases and news, media contact information and feedback requests.

Seemless integration with the CPS website

The news system grabs headlines from CPS local area websites and the new media centre, consolidates them, and publishes them within the main CPS website. This underlines the CPS commitment to transparency and to represent local communities.

The press release templates were redesigned to make them livelier and create more visual appeal. We also designed new alternative set of styles of text such as a quote style, an alert notice, an inset picture style, and create more visual appeal in the Notes for Editors section. Also to add in added value information on the right hand side of the page.

Beefed up factsheets

The Press Office Factsheets had a lot of potential to help people understand the issues behind the news. So rather than the visitor having to seek out information that they hope might be there, we implemented a system that allowed the visitor to easily access additional information relating to the news story.

The idea is to present information to visitors in terms of their needs, rather from the point of view of the CPS, and once again, a system was designed to categorise the information and structure it into a logical order on the website. The aim being to allow people to access information at the level that is right for them.

These new pieces of information, some of which were specially created by ECRU using our straw man technique to speed up content creation and project delivery, so that when someone arrives at the CPS website through a press release they can immediately get extra information via links from the page they land on.

Content management in action

The new media centre is powered by the ECRU content management system (CMS).

Because:

  • The Ecru CMS removes the need for technically skilled operators,
  • Employees can easily adhere to the high corporate standards the CPS sets for design and accessibility in a carefully managed publishing cycle,
  • Publishing is more systematic. There are some processes that machines are perfect for, that humans find time consuming and mundane.
  • We have a very clear idea of the people, processes, time scales and information that are involved publishing the CPS website.
  • When we demonstrate our system people at every level say "I would like one of those…".
  • Publishing can be devolved to the individuals who own the content.
  • Press releases can automatically be categorised and this makes it easier for people to find information that is relevant to them.
  • The system can automatically output PDF and Word versions of press releases using a standard template.
  • The system automatically and more comprehensively links local area news into the national website.

Read this page to me

There are some pages on the CPS news website that have a "read this page to me" feature in the right hand panel. Prime examples are the Press Office Factsheets section, aimed at members of the public.

Other features

Other features of the website include:

  • Video announcements and video gallery
  • Image gallery
  • Blogging facility within the content management system
  • RSS news feeds

Ecru transformed our website and brought great accessibility skills to their impressively delivered project.

CPS Spokesperson

Accessibility

Better than W3C Priority AA means we have maximised the ability of disabled people to access information.

Blogging facility

Senior managers can produce a blog in the secure environment required for public bodies dealing with criminal justice.

Easy to use content management

Staff who are expert at producing press releases but are not technically skilled at website construction are able to produce and publish press releases.

Improved information coordination and delivery

Information is delivered to the reader in a way that adds value and understanding of the sometimes technically complex issues dealt with in CPS Press Releases.

>Read this page to me features

Pages that are frequently visited such as the fact sheets are supplied with MP£ files that enable the page to be read aloud.

Search engine friendly

Visits in the first month of operation increased 49% compared to the year before.

Talk to Ecru about your website project now. Email us or call us on 0800 0433 963 for a friendly chat.

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