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Random Musing

“Why don’t you learn from my mistakes? It takes half your life to learn from your own.”- Shelagh Delaney

Waspsnest’s Contributors

The Wasp
Mr Raccoon

Why do government websites cost so much? It’s not their money being spent of course.

How on earth do you spend the thick end of a million pounds on a website that does not actually work?

Easy when you are the Equalities and Human Rights Commision and you are spending someone else’s money it seems :

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission pulled the plug on its website in may 2009 after repeated crashes and other failures meant it “could not be restored or used further”, it said in its annual report.

The taxpayer-funded body wrote off £874,000 as a result, breaching rules that required it to seek approval for major losses from central government.

A damning assessment of the EHRC’s finances by the National Audit Office found there is “little general financial understanding or competence in the organisation, and that many manager have limited experience of the effective management of public money”.

The failed website “suffered from much ambition but poor specification”, according to the EHRC and its central government overseers. Once it was scrapped, the content was transferred to a new system which it’s understood was considerably cheaper and remains in place today.

Unfortunately the article doesn’t inform us how many people have been sacked as a result of the complete lack of competence but I can guess that the number will be very small and less than one.

It is not as if the website in question is some high tech wonder site either – lots of static pages and stored documents. I doubt their bandwidth needs are huge either so I have no idea at all how you manage to spend such sums unless you are financially and technically illiterate and just hand over bundles of cash to the first bidder.

When you consider the number of these quangos, despite the supposed bonfire we were promised, you begin to appreciate how government spending nearly doubled in 10 years (£367 billion is 2001-02 to £657 billion this financial year) with bugger all to show for it apart from higher taxes and more laws.

Its just a shame we cannot get the required quality of political leaders necessary to get the spending back down to the levels that were perfectly acceptable 10 years ago. Perfectly acceptable to the taxpayers of this country that is but not to our big state masters who just love to try and control every aspect of our lives through regulation and interference.

Unfortunately, short of the UK going bust I doubt we will see any meaningful roll back of the state despite the soothing words whispered in our ears at election time.

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2 comments to Why do government websites cost so much? It’s not their money being spent of course.

  • “…so I have no idea at all how you manage to spend such sums…”

    Well, those IT company consultant’s Ferraris don’t buy themselves

    • Wasp

      Julia – I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those IT consultants were close friends and acquaintances of the people employed there especially when you are in charge of seemingly unlimited sums of other peoples money.