Shadow Trade and Industry Minister Michael Fabricant has today accused the
Government of presiding over a ‘scandalously expensive failure’ following
new research showing that £1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money has been wasted
on E-government websites that do not work.
Research published by Transversal, the e-service software company, has
revealed that Tony Blair’s E-Government websites are as wasteful as the real
It shows that 60 per cent of Government websites are inefficient at
resolving customer queries, and 75 per cent of customer-related management
projects fail to deliver any measurable return on investment.
Mr Fabricant said: "Even in cyberspace, the Government has an uncanny knack
of wasting taxpayers’ cash. It really ought not to be rocket science to pay
for licences and other services through the web. Firms like Waitrose and
Amazon.com have been doing it for years.
"With the expensive flop of the office of e-envoy, which is being
discontinued, with e-dispatch boxes for Government ministers being abandoned
within months of multi-million pound trials, this latest disaster is not
"The Government’s has set a self-imposed deadline to get all ministerial
departments operating effective e-services by 2005. Will it now throw more
taxpayers’ money at the problem or will it simply try and sweep this
disaster under the carpet?
"Simple, cost effective self service applications need to be implemented if
e-Government is to have a real chance at success. The Government needs to
get a cross-departmental grip on the delivery of web-based services to the
public and learn from the mistakes made in the private sector. Contracts
need to be clearly defined between Government departments and web providers
just as in the private sector."
Mr Fabricant added: "In Government, I would implement a fundamental review
into how IT projects such as these are commissioned. There needs to be a
common cross-departmental strategy, which would involve taking serious
advice from commercial organisations, such as Amazon, using websites to
interface with their customers. We would also implement a contract based
more on payment by results – rather than simply paying for the hours worked
– with all our IT sub-contractors."