British government splurges tens of thousands on iPhone apps

The Government has wasted tens of thousands of pounds on iPhone apps, a Freedom of Information request has revealed, with development costs for a single app reaching up to £40,000.

Anyone who’s ever been down the dole office will know that the jobsworths – Steve Jobsworths? – who work there will find any excuse to screw someone out of a bit of cash. But it seems it had at least £32,775 kicking around to develop its Jobcentre Plus app. Why it was targeting people with enough dosh to afford iPhones and their costly monthly tarriffs is another question entirely.

There is an Android version, but user reviews say things like: 

“Wow! This really is civil service incompetence at its best! Whoever is responsible for releasing this should be looking for a new job… and will be soon.”


“I am amazed at how bad it is. Now we know why there is a recession.”

Other culprits include the DVLA Masterclass, NHS Quit Smoking and the NHS Drinks Tracker. The DVLA Masterclass cost £40,000 to develop, while Quit Smoking and Drinks Tracker cost £10,000 each. Aren’t there bedroom developers who could have done these significantly cheaper, especially considering the awful user interface and experience widely reported?

The Beeb chatted to the DVLA about its inexcusably expensive application for what is essentially a toy for manbabies: “We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to renew their car tax, tell us about a change of address or update their driving licence, meaning they stay safe and legal to drive.” You’d think the “phone” function on the iPhone would be pretty handy, too. 

Bizarrely, the Home Office denied revealing any information on its iPhone app because of “security concerns”. What are we looking at here – iTrident? 

The Cabinet Office told Aunty Beeb: “Future spend on iPhone development will be subject to strict controls: only essential activity … will be allowed”.

We’re picking our brains as to what could possibly be considered essential activity on an iPhone. But maybe the cash-strapped British government should take a few pointers from these rogue app developers we covered yesterday, who app farm to raise huge amounts of dosh. We’d be back into black in no time!