Petitions: credit where it's due

Last month, the GDS blog published details of the traffic levels experienced by the new government e-petitions service in its first 100 days:

At what price? Well, that came out soon afterwards, in a PQ to the Leader of the House.

The Government’s e-petition site was designed and created by the Government Digital Service, in conjunction with the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons, at a cost of £80,700. The projected technical running cost for the first three years of operation is £32,000 per annum.

– which works out, very roughly, at just over around 1p per ‘transaction’ (ie petition signature). The traffic numbers were impressive in and of themselves, but it’s this calculation which matters more. A hearty ‘well done’ to the GDS team. Now, it’s over to the politicians to do something meaningful with the petitions…?

5 thoughts on “Petitions: credit where it's due”

  1. As my maths teacher would have no doubt said: show your workings!
    So – £176,700 for three years (£80,700 + £32,000 x 3)
    That’s £16,073 (ish) for 100 days.
    If the signature run-rate continues – £16,073 per 2,600,000 signatures
    Or 0.6p (ish) per transaction.
    That makes the figure quite a bit under 1p per transaction – including the set up cost.
    Or, in terms of run-rate, even better:
    £96,000 for three years. £8,760 for 100 days/ 2.6m signatures. Or 0.33p per signature.
    Of course, check my sums – your workings might be different.

  2. Actually, I think Ben’s calculation is closer to the mark than mine was. Humble apologies to my maths teacher (if he’s still with us).

  3. Thanks for the comments Simon….. Re: the costs, I settled on an ongoing figure of about 0.5p per signature – based on the fact that we will continue to invest and evolve this product…. so let’s meet in the middle 🙂

  4. I wonder whether we’re measuring the wrong thing.
    I can see 5 now @ > 100k, whose titles are:
    Convicted London rioters should loose (sic) all benefits
    Full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster
    No to 70 million
    Make financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum
    Are we still proud of ourselves ??!
    Is each of these enlightening ideas worth 20K? Arguably not.
    3 of them could be covered by buying a copy of the Daily Mail which I’m guessing is under a quid.
    A bit further down we have neck and neck suggestions to restore, then retain the ban on capital punishment. And there, I’d suggest, lies the problem.

  5. And is anyone hat tipping the creators of the original government epetitions site? I honestly can’t remember who was behind it, but surely it went some way towards proving the concept – and therefore should be credited with helping to reduce some of the design process? All I’ve read so far tells the story of this GDS service in isolation.

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