BIS intranet moves to GovIntranet WordPress theme

BIS went live with their WordPress intranet at the start of May. This is our third central government department client using the Open Source GovIntranet theme, already in use at DCMS and NIO.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills intranet supports around 2000 staff. The new intranet started to roll out in the first week of May, alongside a department-wide IT upgrade. More staff will see the new intranet on their desktop over the next week or so.

Content rewrite

Like DCMS and NIO, BIS decided to rewrite their content in the new format of tasks and guides. The intranet team have been busy for months, working with the many teams in the department, to simplify their old intranet pages and documents. This has been a precision operation managed by Nora Brodian, involving humongous content inventory spreadsheets and several rounds of rewrites and signoff. New pages are in plain English, organised by category and tagged to allow navigation by topic.

The HR department has had difficulty making the leap to the new way of presenting information. All the HR information has been put into a separate section of the intranet, using left-hand navigation and hierarchical layers of content. I understand that there are plans to move this content into the tasks and guides. In the meantime, staff can still find the HR pages via the regular search box, which is working pretty good according to my tests.

Predictive search test

The content rewrites and reorganisation have resulted in a leaner bank of information and makes for good search results. My standard set of government department intranet searches performed really well. Results in the gallery below:

GovIntranet theme updates

Thanks go to BIS for commissioning several new templates and enhancements that went into version 3 of the theme. This includes updates to the general look and feel of the templates to bring them more in line with GOV.UK, a new set of events templates, and the A to Z template.


The events templates allow staff to browse through past and future events and we have included a widget to display forthcoming events around the intranet. Events can be integrated with Eventbrite booking, allowing staff to register for internal and external events. The templates also work with Gravity Forms, so you can capture event bookings via this method too.

Events widget
Events widget, customisable to show forthcoming events and thumbnails.
Eventbrite booking
Event page with Eventbrite booking.

Theme styling

DCMS and NIO have made use of the enhancements to the theme and this is a great example of saving money through Open Source software. All three departments are now using the same version of the theme, with their own customised colours and typefaces and their own way of doing things.

More information


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.