Could someone please explain why so much public money is being wasted by the Home Office on their website each year ?
Written answers and statements, 1 February 2010
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on its website in 2009-10.
Alan Johnson (Home Secretary; Kingston upon Hull West & Hessle, Labour)
The Home Office website is
The amount spent on the main site and Home Office sub-sites is forecast to be £762,000 for the 2009-10 financial year.
£762,000 a year !!
The taxpayer is being ripped off ! What exactly are they wasting over three quarters of a million pounds a year on ??
the sub-sites include:
http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk - Crime Reduction
http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmic - HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
http://www.ips.gov.uk - Identity and Passport Service
http://www.imb.gov.uk - Independent Monitoring Boards (why is this not paiid for by the Ministry of Justice which is now supposed to be in charge of Prisons)
http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk - Police
http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk - Press Office
http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice.gov.uk - Science and Research
http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk - Security
http://commercial.homeoffice.gov.uk - Supplying the Home Office
http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk - Tackling Drugs, Changing Lives
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk - UK Border Agency
It is unclear if the supposedly independent Agencies, Quangos and NDBPs pay for their own websites out of their own, separate Home Office budgets or not. e.g. the Association of Chief Police Officers, the The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland , the Security Service MI5, the Office of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner etc. etc.
The Press sub-website in particular is useless. It simply does not provide an up to date or even out of date but complete archive of even Home Office Press releases sent by email and fax to the mainstream media.
We were astonished by how little work the >over 64 staff in Home Office Press Office appear to do, if you go by their online web (in)activity.
We suspect that 60 Press Officers produce rather more than the meagre one or two Press releases a week which appear on the Press or Main home Office websites.
Surely the Home Office does not treat Press releases as if they were national security secrets ?
Unless and until they publish all their Press release, Media Briefings, "lines to take" etc. on their website, in an easily searchable format i.e. HTMl web pages, RSS aggregation feeds etc., then they will always be seen as trying to spin / manipulate the media and to always be dishonestly hiding something from the public.
See our Freedom of Information Act request of just over a year ago:
All the other sections of the Home office website , are also very static, and the existing documents could be published and indexed automatically from the Microsoft Office originals, for virtually no extra cost at all.
We repeat - what exactly are they wasting £726,000 a year of our money on ?