“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity” – UK Govt websites for the chop

Chapter 1 discussed the potential for e-government and reviewed the case of Canada. But it’s clear that governments need to have an understanding of the costs and benefits of such activity. The new UK Coalition Government has set its sights on so-called ‘vanity’ websites set up by government agencies to promote their services, without any clear idea of costs or benefits. As part of its austerity-focused cost-cutting, the UK Cabinet Office has published some fascinating information on the costs and benefits of particular sites, and proposes closing up to 75% of the current 820 UK Government websites by the autumn. The UKInvest website, for example, was costed at over £11 per visit (presumably less now that everyone has piled in to see what the fuss is about). It even names and shames government websites which have been established without approval.