Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) stands at the highest quality of public service. Situated in the heart of Gloucestershire and the local authority landscape, it’s responsible for a plethora of services that are vital to the region’s residents. Like many councils, GCC strives to keep up with modern demands whilst navigating the challenges posed by existing legacy systems. 

The Immediate Need

For every organisation, especially ones as comprehensive as GCC, efficient resource management is paramount. As the council investigated refining their operations, a glaring inefficiency came to light: their room booking system. This wasn’t just any system; it was a blast from the past, reminiscent of times when software limitations were an unfortunate part of the job. Though familiar and embedded within GCC’s daily operations, it had a clear expiration date. It wasn’t just the dated interface or the clunky workarounds that staff had come to accept; the system was not scalable and lacked necessary modern features like cloud integration. 

Crafting the Solution

With the challenge laid out, GCC’s vision was clear—a dynamic, modern booking system. The goal was a system capable of managing multiple rooms across various buildings, complete with associated resources. This wasn’t just about booking a room; it was about ensuring that each meeting had the tools needed be it projectors, whiteboards or any other facility. The pinnacle of this system was to be its schedule board—a visual representation, almost like a master key, showing when and where resources were available. 

Journey Through Challenges 

Building a modern solution is rarely straightforward. In this case, translating the visual simplicity of a schedule board into a working model required immense backend complexity. Emily, a central figure in this development, faced the daunting task of ensuring that overlapping bookings were accurately and clearly displayed. Imagine the intricacy of booking a room from 9:40 till 10:14 and making it seamlessly fit within the 9-10 and 10-11 slots. The underlying mathematics were convoluted, leading to multiple brainstorming and testing sessions. 

Unexpected Surprises

Every project has a learning curve, and for this engagement the beta testing phase was incredibly enlightening. Typically, beta testing is a limited scope trial run. However, GCC, understanding the gravity of the new system’s role, put it through a test of 1500 bookings. This wasn’t just rigorousit was an extreme stress test, a real-world simulation that offered invaluable insights. The test’s scale revealed challenges that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, reaffirming the importance of extensive testing. 

Tangible Outcomes

It’s still the early days, but GCC has already begun to feel the benefits of change. Gone are the days of clumsy interfaces and workarounds; in their place stands a tried and trusted, user-friendly system that mirrors the organisation’s current needs. More than just a tool, the app has become a symbol of positive change, a step forward in a world where efficiency is the most valuable currency. 

Looking Ahead 

This fruitful collaboration between GCC and Changing Social is just the first step. Discussions about the app’s second phase are already underway! There’s a vision of GCC not just using tools like the Power Platform but embracing them, instilling a culture of innovation from the ground up. It’s not just about external solutions but fostering internal growth, where repetitive tasks are automated, and the focus shifts to more significant challenges. 

A Broader Perspective 

While room booking might seem like a niche challenge, the underlying principles of this project are universal. Resource management, in its many forms, is a challenge every organisation grapples with. Whether it’s rooms in a council building or engineers in the field, the core issue remains. This project is more than just a solution for GCC—it’s a blueprint for any organisation seeking to better manage its resources. It’s a call to look beyond the immediate, and see the potential of what can be. 

Woman drawing app design on piece of paper


To sum up, Gloucestershire County Council’s journey with the Bookings App isn’t just a tale of overcoming software limitations. It’s a testament to the spirit of innovation, collaboration and the relentless pursuit of efficiency. In the heart of local authority services, this case study shines as a beacon for organisations everywhere, illustrating the power and potential of modern digital solutions.