A PQ from Lib Dem MP Jennifer Willott:
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much his Department spent on external website design consultants in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.
To which Parliamentary Under-Secretary Chris Mole responded on 30 March 2010:
Tables have been placed in the Libraries of the House showing websites operated over the last three years and how much has been spent on external website design consultants for website design work. Costs provided are total external costs and do not include internal staff costs.
Depositing something in the library makes it a little more difficult to trace online; but not impossible. A little-known area of the Parliament website listed such Deposited Papers: and lo and behold, here’s the Word document in question: a simple table, over just two pages, which could surely have been reformatted for Hansard relatively easily? It includes:
- over £160k spent on design of Transport Direct
- £178k on the Think! road safety microsite…
- … plus a further £100k on the Think! drug-driving micro-microsite
- … plus a few quid short of £88k on the Think! early years and primary micro-microsite
- £138k on the Flash-y, child-focused Tales Of The Road microsite (which prompted this most amusing Lords PQ last year)
- and a whopping £343,207 on the heavily-promoted Act On CO2 site – which, in its defence, has claimed 1.1 million unique visitors between Sept 08 and Dec 09. Mind you, with an advertising budget in excess of £10m over 3 years, so it should.
The total of the various sums quoted: £1.2 million, over the three years from April 2006 to April 2009. And I note, for the record, there’s no mention of Code of Everand.
Please let’s be clear. All I’m doing is quoting the numbers from a document placed on the public record. It’s headed ‘DfT Websites and design consultant costs’, but there’s no clear definition of what constitutes ‘design’. In some cases, I’d assume ‘design’ covers the complete creative and technical process, from Photoshop to build to launch; in others, that’s quite definitely not the case.