75% of govt websites to be axed

By politics.co.uk staff

The government is set to axe 75% of the 820 government websites, according to Francis Maude.

The Cabinet Office minister insisted all the websites would be reviewed to ensure they delivered value for money with a view to a sweeping cull of “vanity projects” or sites which do not provide easy-to-explain services to the public.

All proposed websites will need to be cleared through the Efficiency Board which Mr Maude co-chairs with Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.

The year 2009/10 saw £94 million spent on running and developing just 46 websites, on top of the £32 million staffing costs.

Government figures indicate the uktradeinvest.gov.uk site is the most expensive, coming in at £11.78 per visit.

There are also concerns that duplicate content has resulted in far higher spending than was strictly necessary.
New Labour originally attempted to cut down on the number of websites in 2006.

“The last government identified 794 sites still open and promised to close 422 of them,” Mr Maude said.

“Only 24 sites have been reported as closed and more sites have since been discovered and so the present total number of government websites is 820.

“The days of ‘vanity’ sites are over. It is not good enough to have websites which do not deliver the high quality services which people expect and deserve.”

Internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, the government’s new digital champion, is set to work with Mr Maude on the cull.