The research was based on a request we put in to every council in the UK back in February to disclose the amount they spend on web-related services which under the Freedom of Information Act they are obliged to provide (yet only 70% of them did!). We then compared those figures with the spend of companies in the private sector running similar sites (or in most cases much more sophisticated).
The results are indeed quite shocking. On average councils in the UK spent just over £40,000 per annum (each!) compared to a mere £4,300 by companies in the private sector.. with some of the highest spenders like Westminster city council exceeding £710,000 !!
In their defence councils said they run ‘very important’ sites that support much higher volumes of traffic than in the private sector. That’s just a load of c*** ! Traffic rank data from Alexa.com support quite the opposite in fact. As for the complexity issue….hmm well, when was the last time you went to your council’s website? Do you imagine it being an uber-slick site with latest technologies plugged in? Interactive user-generated content? Some cool AJAX widgets, bit of flash on the side, e-commerce integrated with multi-choice payment facility just in case you decide this month you want to pay your council tax with Paypal ?? Are the kidding us or what?
The simple fact of the matter is that this is just another example of the public sector using taxpayers money – OUR MONEY – carelessly and completely inefficiently. They probably have some arcane vendor-procurement procedure that’s not fit for selecting a dustpan’s let alone the best digital solution; and most probably processed by a semi-retired bored-to -earth clerk who couldn’t tell a webpage from a cookie-jar even if it hit them on the head! Yet ‘complexity’ is what sets them apart.
For access to the full report please visit PPH Economy and download the full report titled ‘How the Public Sector is overspending’.