Case studies

Church of England

Connecting dioceses across the country

The client

The Church of England is an historic Christian faith organisation with roots going back to the Roman Empire. It is divided into more than 40 individual dioceses that, while linked, are essentially independent organisations operating under their own management.

The brief

The goal of this project was to create a centralised contact management system, a single point where each individual diocese could store contact details for everyone from a bishop to a church warden or the head teacher of a local CofE school. The idea was to bring consistency and create economies of scale by commissioning a joint system to replace the various individual systems that were being used.

Worthers has been a vital part of making this project successful.

The Challenge

Because each diocese was using its own form of CMS, the real challenge was to find a solution that would work for everyone and get them on board with a new system. Also, because the hierarchical structure of each diocese is different, the system needed to be customisable.

The solution

There was no off-the-shelf solution available that would do everything that the Church of England needed it to do, so we created a bespoke solution. This allowed us to make it customisable, with core data plus the ability to add unique fields where necessary. A later iteration of the system allowed them to hide fields within the core data too.

We also made sure that the system was highly functional, giving users the ability to export data, creating mailing labels, build custom saves of searches and search to highly advanced criteria (e.g. finding all females of a particular age bracket working within a specific job role). Since its launch, we have continued to maintain the system and adapt it based on feedback from the CofE’s user group.

Their style of working is different...they’re not afraid to challenge the brief.

The verdict

“With Worthers, we have been highly successful in getting this IT project adopted across the Church of England. Because we don’t operate within a ‘head office and branches’ scenario, there’s no central management structure, so it just a case of getting everyone to sign up. We’ve already got 25 of the 42 dioceses using the new CMS, which is incredibly good engagement.

“Worthers has been a vital part of making this project successful. Their experience has been invaluable because they’ve done similar projects so they knew what was going to work and what wouldn’t.

“Their style of working is different to other developers we’ve worked with too. They have a genuine desire to build something that is going to be liked and used, and they’re not afraid to challenge the brief to make sure that’s what is delivered. And they’re genuinely nice people to work with too!”

Fraser McNish, Director of Parish Support, Church of England

Contact management system, Permissions system, Advanced search facilities, Hierarchical location data, Single sign on, API development, Laravel framework, MySQL, server infrastructure design