Feeds

Revealed: Public sector's web gravy train

Councils spend like there's no tomorrow. Maybe there isn't

Security for virtualized datacentres

Even printing money might not save the Web 2.0 gravy train from hitting the buffers. Data released through Freedom of Information requests shows that the average council spent twelve times as much money as the average UK business on websites. And despite the recession, council spending on external web gurus actually rose in 2009.

Examples include Norfolk (the number two spender) splashing out £94,220 for its schools website. Knowsley council made a trip to the strategy boutique, burning through £225,000 "to cover the complete redesign and redevelopment of the Knowsley Council web solution". North Yorkshire County Council splashed out over six figures on a CMS for its "corporate" websites. Cambridgeshire spent £36,000 on a user experience consultant.

At the other end of the scale, Durham Council spent £711 on domain name registration. Individual org.uk domains can be registered for £2.97 each per year - there are discounts for bulk registrations.

Surprisingly many of the sites are mostly static information pages - there's very little transactional work. The hosting costs paid by councils might also raise eyebrows.

Topping the list for the years 2007-2009 were Westminster City Council, followed by Barking and Dagenham, Norfolk and Harringey. In total, councils spent £19.1m on web services, up from £16.1m the previous year.

The figures were obtained by small business jobs site PeoplePerHour, and don't include in-house IT teams, which are already large. Around 70 per cent of councils provided data.

"IT service suppliers to local councils, NHS Trusts and other public services are getting a great deal at taxpayers’ expense," reckons PeoplePerHour chief executive Xenios Thrasyvoulou.

The irony here is that web services really do promise to make large chunks of the bureaucracy redundant. In the old dot.com language, they "disintermediate", or cut out the middle man. So the quest for both IT consultants and web wonks, and bureaucrats alike is to make themselves indispensable.

But with the private sector showing how to "do the web" much more cheaply and efficiently, the end of the gravy train may not be far away. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.