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The UK Government’s Growth and Improvement Service (GIS) Portal

Aspire and Solr drive a range of sophisticated search functions


Search Technologies previously worked with Business Link, a government-funded business advice and guidance service in England (now replaced by, to leverage the Solr search engine for their GIS portal. 


  • The UK Government’s Growth and Improvement Service (GIS) Portal was launched on time and under budget, and is based entirely on open source and license-free software.
  • The content management software in use is Drupal, one of the leading open source content management systems (CMS). 
  • The search infrastructure was implemented by Search Technologies and is based on the open source Solr / Lucene search engine.
  • The Aspire Content Processing platform provides data aggregation, clean-up, and enrichment of content prior to indexing.


The new search system aggregates live information from a range of data sources, including Business Support Finder, the four national Business Link websites, and the Startup Hub, and seamlessly combines these with new content commissioned specifically for the GIS project.


From a single search box, a range of best practice search functions are available including:

  • Faceted search: Contextual navigation options enabling visitors to quickly customise search results to their exact requirements
  • Tunable ranking: Administrators are given a range of easy-to-use tools to fine-tune relevancy, including adjustable document authority and “best bets” to promote specific content directly against pre-defined keywords and phrases
  • RSS syndication: Search results can be presented as RSS feeds for easy syndication to other websites
  • Automated categorisation of content against a new taxonomy, including the re-mapping of existing information architectures from aggregated websites

This search system was delivered on-time and under budget. No software license fees were involved. The search capabilities described above can easily be cloned to address other government search applications, central or local.

For further information about this project, or to discuss how robust, royalty-free search software can address your needs, contact us.