Tag Archives: website

More of The Guardian, website expenditure, crowdsourcing visualisations and THAT Birmingham City Council website…

Since last week’s blog post, the Guardian, having had the data thrown their way by a couple of freelance journalists at Peopleperhour, have made the website expenditure across all the UK councils public and the data is now available online.

It’s a shame that the link to the Guardian’s Manyeyes visualisation is a broken one, but it’s interesting that they have thrown data out to the audience to crowdsource visualisations and host them on their own Flickr group.

It’s a great chance to play around with a goldmine of data that is both contemporary and relevant, and there are some great examples up already.

So, to summarise, every council’s spending on websites is up there, and ten have spent over £100,000, including the over-exuberant Birmingham City Council, pushing way out in front with £2,800,000. And the data is all there  for you to use.

The Birmingham.gov controversy, as told by The Telegraph…

Sometimes, it?s nice to sit back and read through the results of a hugely successful investigation. Even nicer when we kicked the whole thing off.

The Telegraph online reported on Monday that ?councils are spending millions on redesigns of their websites despite facing the biggest funding cuts in their history?, with a story originating from a Helpmeinvestigate investigation into the Birmingham City Council website renovation.

The proposed website renovation had been announced in 2007 but was nowhere to be seen until 2009, and was supposedly being outsourced by private hire IT firms.

But, those working on the investigation could have had no idea as to the extent of the spending that was going on; after it was unveiled in 2009, investigations revealed that the total cost had ballooned from a proposed ?580,000 to an incredible ?2.8 million.

When the Birmingham Post reported the costs in September of 2009, Helpmeinvestigate finally had a result, and one that was clearly massively newsworthy.

The report written by Nick Booth (@podnosh) provides an appropriate conclusion to the story and offers an element of riposte on behalf of Birmingham City Council.

Birmingham City Council have come under further scrutiny however as a result of the Telegraph report, which has looked in further detail at the spending on council websites across all the counties of the UK and has placed Birmingham City Council as the highest spenders.

By spending over three times as much as any other council.

And 28 times the mean.

In fact, one third of the entire website redesign spending figures for the UK belonged to Birmingham City Council.

The full chart and figures are on the Telegraph article, including the raw data from the FOI requests made by themselves and peopleperhour.com.

It will most likely come as no surprise to most of the people working on the investigation that Birmingham City Council topped the chart, but the degree to which they have seemingly overspent has been magnified by the relatively moderate spending of most council.

It is by no means a bad thing that the council tried, back in 2007, to show that it was aiming to be in touch with the more technological aspects of serving the public but have those good intentions been overshadowed now?