Thursday, 1 July 2010


I recently read this article in the Telegraph about government websites. Apparently closing six hundred of them will save £100m. Now ten seconds mental arithmetic gave a cost per website so outrageous that I thought I had lost the ability, and checked my sums with a calculator. This confirmed that a government website costs on average over £165,000. I have a friend who sets up websites for a living and confirms that for most of the sites he charges between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds. That is for designing and setting up. Annual running costs are then much lower. Why is it when taxpayers money is involved no-one seems to care about getting value for money?


  1. The government launched a new site yesterday, that is:

    Hopefully, it is not just an expensive gimmick, but an opportunity to really 'speak' to our great leaders.

    We have utilised it already.


  2. Well to be fair, government websites need to be a lot more robust and serve a much higer number of people than most commercial websites. Plus, the cost of government websites is for far more than the "set up" costs quoted by your friend - it also includes 24/7 hosting and maintenence, staffing, content provision and everything else.

    They also often provide ways for the public to transact with the state (e.g. ordering driving licences, ) - which is expensive to do at scale, and because of their public service status, they have to be absolutely watertight when it comes to archiving, DDA-compliance, data security etc.

    Interesting article and even more interesting comments here about the cost of NHS Choices

  3. I have to say, a lot of the website and propoganda rubbish, but some of them must be very difficult to run. HMRC's website for example must require alot of work, especially to ensure security and felicity of the information presented to the visitors of such a site. I could imagine that costing a million alone every year to keep up to date and functioning smoothly and securely.