Website cost – a clarification

By on 17/08/2010 in News

Over the last few days there have been several media reports and blogs covering the issue of local government website costs.

The reports widely repeat an inaccuracy that Birmingham City Council spent £2.8million on “redesigning its website” http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/

That total also included expenditure on work to ensure that the public-facing site was integrated with a new behind-the-scenes system used by staff that manages customer interaction with the local authority.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said:

“This has been a very worthwhile and necessary project which has enabled us to greatly improve the services we offer to citizens, including the creation of customer accounts – which enable people to track any queries that they make to the council as part of effort to improve satisfaction rates.

“The site isn't merely a shop window anymore; it underpins the operation of the shop. Both our customers and frontline staff depend on it, and the cost also includes the expenditure on the behind the scenes elements that enable the council to manage transactions with citizens.”

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Hi there,

    In the interests of clarifying it, could I suggest that you publish a plain English, easily understandable breakdown of the costs and how the system works?

    Maybe a diagram with ticks next to each part showing what the money spent covered?

    All that we can go on is what you guys publish, and there was a Freedom of Information request published by the council in response to the question of how much the new website cost which gave this figure. And a further article which claimed that the council hadn’t met its own targets for cost savings as a result, but I don’t know the source for that.

    We could go through the whole FOI request, “no comment”, FOI request, “not comment” loop again or you could take another tack and release some information that would clear this up once and for all…

    It could be quite an interesting public interest data-journalism job, maybe even something for a Masters student to take on as a project?

    Best wishes,

    Stef

  2. Richard Morris says:

    So how much did you spend?

  3. James says:

    Its strange that no matter how much has been spent, running the cursor across the secondary navigation “Comments [2] Text Only Digg it! Facebook Twitter” on this page makes the page flicker and jump.

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