UK government to close majority of .gov.uk websites

The UK government is to close three quarters of its websites as part of a £100 million cost-saving measure, reports ComputerWorld UK.

600 of the 800 government websites will be closed down, while some will have data moved to the direct.gov.uk portal. The remaining 200 may also be pruned after a review is finished in September.

The ousted Labour government closed 1,001 sites since the recession began in 2008. It also introduced tougher rules for establishing new government websites. The Tories look set to continue the trend with the latest round of eliminations.

Despite the moves to reduce government IT spending it still managed to spend £126 million on 46 new websites last year, which is much more than it will save by cutting the 600 it is currently planning.

In early June the UK Supreme Court got a new website, which cost the taxpayer £360,000, which might not have been too bad if it had not been plastered with rookie coding errors.

Another example of where the taxpayer’s hard-earned pounds are going is the Brighton & Hove City Council’s recruitment website for four positions, which cost £10,000. Considering how ugly it is, and the fact that Brighton is trying to save £20 million this year, we can’t help but think the UK government is so technologically inept that it’s paying any old fool to design its sites.

A recent study found that some government websites cost an astronomical amount to maintain, such as uktradeinvest.gob.uk, which sees so little traffic that it costs £11.78 per visit. Perhaps it would be better off investing that money in UK trade than in an unused website.

If that were not enough, the study found that more than 40 percent of those website visitors could not find the information they were seeking, which makes the websites as completely useless as the people who sign the cheques for them.

Tory MP Francis Maude, who is overseeing the website cuts, said that websites “will be subject to a review looking at cost, usage and whether they could share resources better.”