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The devolved model of delivering digital

A core value of the web has always been its potential to democratise communications. Give more people the ability to easily publish content and reach their audiences.

For organisations, that has meant looking for opportunities to devolve everyday publishing, putting it in the hands of our teams of experts who are responsible for engaging their audiences with effective services and products, to help Shelter achieve its strategic goals.

It makes perfect sense that a team who owns its audience relationship should also own its web content.

Closing the skills gaps

Many roles at Shelter already involve digital elements, and most will in the future. Shelter has invested in modern technology, so now a core function of the Central Digital team is to help Shelter teams build the skills to use those tools - to help liberate them and scale our capacity at the same time.

Training and readily available guidance are a key part of this support.

Four people in a Shelter office looking at a computer screen.

Another fundamental part of building Shelter’s digital strength is informal collaboration through Communities of Practice and champion groups. These groups give anyone the opportunity to join the conversation, represent their views, learn more, and impact digital working.

Keeping a strong centre

An effective central core, provided by the Central Digital team and the Scotland product team, goes hand-in-hand with devolved publishing, in order to:

  • build product/service roadmaps with business owners and devolved teams

  • deliver innovative and complex digital products and services through product teams and other experts and contributors

  • provide a range of additional capabilities and specialist skills which are difficult to devolve for an organisation of Shelter’s size

  • operate Shelter’s digital estate of websites and other channels

  • ensure strong governance and quality control across the organisation

  • report on organisational performance and benchmarks

  • provide the overarching perspective to align the devolved directorate-level teams

The devolved model has proven effective within the Digital Advice team and the Services product team, giving them both strong ownership and valuable interaction with Central Digital.

Better business value

The devolved model gives Shelter:

What work is being devolved?

The primary responsibilities that now belong to devolved teams are focused purely on content - publishing it, maintaining it, measuring it, improving and updating it, and removing it when needed.

Depending on the digital knowledge and proficiency of a content-owning team, they may also be responsible for the information architecture (IA) of their website section. If they need support with IA, the central digital teams can help them.

How the technology helps devolvement

Shelter’s content management system (CMS) gives devolved teams two valuable means of creating their content:

  • Page templates - designed to fit the needs of each section’s users - for example, a press release template for the Media team’s audience

  • Content components - designed to deliver a full range of content types for users, and be assembled with other components - for example, an image with a person’s quote

The roles behind it

To reach a continuous balance of strategic direction, operational excellence, and analysis and reporting, the framework has established three types of roles with varying accountabilities and responsibilities, as well as the Digital Leadership Group for strategy steer. Read about the roles.

A tiered approach

To help Shelter teams understand which digital work will be devolved and which will go through central teams, this framework uses a three-tiered approach.


A tiered approach to what gets devolved

An introduction to our working principles, guidelines and standards

Learn the language

Our digital glossary demystifies a range of digital phrases and roles.

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.

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