The 3 tiers that guide how Shelter devolves web publishing

To become more efficient and empower more teams to build and serve their audiences, Shelter needs to decentralise the everyday regular publishing – with training and support from the digital product teams in England and Scotland. 

Yet we also need to protect Shelter’s ability to produce work that is more complex or organisationally strategic. This type of work will remain with the Central Digital team.

And we need to discover the middle ground where a self-publishing team can make less complex changes themselves.

Throughout the devolution process, Shelter has committed to ensure consistency in quality and brand. So the framework has been developed with a three-tiered model to explain and facilitate how work gets distributed. 

Perpetuating the lifecycle

Whichever team work gets distributed to or owned by, that work must follow the digital lifecycle, a vital part of Shelter’s digital framework.

The lifecycle covers beginning-to-end ownership of products and services, from future vision and business planning, to creating a new product or service, through to maintaining the live output - and even decisions on retiring a product or service.

The lifecycle ensures responsibility. Shelter needs to be confident that every live product, every section and every page has a content manager who can justify its existence.

Tier 1

This is work that's been done before. It’s work that would be prioritised, scheduled and delivered by teams managing a live product, service or section of the website - either self-publishing teams or teams using Central Digital or Scotland. (Along with teams who rely on product teams to make minor changes to pages.)

  • New content: pages, text, images, videos

  • Variation on and updates to existing content 

Tier 2 

This is work that could potentially be delivered centrally or by a self-publishing team, depending on the technical complexity and level of research required.

This could include:

  • improvements and optimisations of medium complexity for existing products and services 

  • adaptations of existing solutions for new audiences 

  • new sections

Who makes the decision on when to devolve work?

If a piece of work doesn’t meet the Tier 1 criteria, the relevant product manager will decide if it can be delivered by a self-publishing team or a product team, depending on level of complexity.

Tier 3  

This is work we haven’t done previously at Shelter. Work with high levels of uncertainty and risk. It often involves researching and solving specific business problems, or meeting a specific user need.  

Typically, we form a team around the problem by joining experts to the product team. These teams are led by a product manager.

The work is prioritised by individual business owners and run by product teams, in collaboration with content owning teams when needed.

This could include:

  • new products or services for new audiences 

  • innovation 

  • high complexity work 

We’ll monitor how the tiers are working. 

‘The Digital Team were really easy to work with and were very good at communicating the timeline for updating the Book Club webpage. They were adaptable to our short notice edits which is vital for MVP development, and where there were site restrictions on the type of hero image we could use, they were very helpful in suggesting designs for the page itself.’

Shabnam Makee, Senior Digital Fundraising Executive, Income Generation


Our devolved model of web publishing

The content roles that drive the model

The principles, guidelines and standards that underpin Shelter’s digital output

Learn the lingo with our digital glossary


Contact us about the digital framework

Have a question or comment? Found a bug? Or maybe you’d like to contribute to the framework? Use our contact form to get in touch.