In autumn 2006 the Government committed to dramatically culling the number of websites. In March 2010 there were still 794 websites; now, the Government has identified 820.
‘The last government identified 794 sites still open and promised to close 422 of them. Only 24 sites have been reported as closed and more sites have since been discovered and so the present total number of government websites is 820.’
As part of the Government’s efficiency drive, all of the existing 820 government funded websites will be subject to a review looking at cost, usage and whether they could share resources better. No new websites will be permitted except for those that pass through a stringent exceptions process for special cases, and are cleared by the Efficiency board which is co-chaired by Francis Maude and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.
The expectation is the review, which will report by the Spending Review in September, will aim to shut down up to 75% of existing sites and then look at getting the remaining sites to cuts their costs by up to 50% and move onto common infrastructures.
A report published today by the Central Office for Information (COI) found that across government £94 million has been spent on the construction and set up and running costs of just 46 websites and £32 million on staff costs for those sites in 2009-10.
The most expensive websites are:
In addition, there is anecdotal evidence of where money has been wasted because of competition between departments. Examples of this include:
Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST) bidding against each other for Google search terms; and Some quango websites competing with central government ones, for example, the Potato Marketing Board’s lovechips.co.uk competing against the Department of Health’s Change4Life campaign on healthy lifestyle.
Making the announcement, Francis Maude, said: “This Government is completely committed to getting the government web back under control. The days of “vanity” sites are over. It is not good enough to have websites which do not deliver the high quality services which people expect and deserve. That is why we will take tough action to get rid of those which are not up to the job and do not offer good value for money and introduce strict guidelines for those that remain.
“Going forward I will be working with the internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, who started Lastminute.com and is now, amongst other things the founder of Lucky Voice, our new Digital Champion, on how we further transform government websites as part of our drive to put key public services online and to increase the number of people who are able to use the Internet. She will also look at sharing resources and facilities and using low-cost open source products to reduce running costs.”
With the government throwing up such hight costs per visit on some of their websites, do you know how much your website costs per visit?