back to article shutters half its websites

907 of the government's 1,700 websites have closed following the recommendations of the Varney report in 2006. A further 479 are "committed to be closed", according to a written answer from Cabinet Office minister Angela Smith on 27 January 2010. She was responding to a request for information from shadow Cabinet Office …


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  1. Rob 30

    any details?

    while that is quite interesting news, why are they closing them? what were the ones that are getting closed.. etc? enquiring minds want to know...

    1. Neil Stansbury


      You mean you can think of at least one good reason why the British government needs to maintain 1,700 separate websites and the infrastructure overhead and costs that go with them?

      It is called "Mission Creep", and British civil servants are true experts at it.

  2. Number6

    Tax Website

    I assume the tax website will be closed this weekend as it collapes under the load of all those last-minute on-line returns? Or have they managed to fix it at last?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Planning? They've heard of it (or have they?)

    So a total of 1386 sites will be closed, out of 1700. That's 81% of them.

    As a taxpayer, I would sincerely like to know what clown(s) set up those Web sites in the first place, only to have them shut down again within a few years. That must represent a large waste of public money (although admittedly everything else pales into insignificance alongside the vast cost of the bank bailout, the NHS "reforms", the wars in Asia, etc. etc.)

  4. Kenno

    Job centre

    One of the webpages that was shut down was the job centre website which has been merged into direct gov much like the DVLA website.

    Its a tad ironic that the job centre website was shut down and merged seeing that there is mass unemployment going on. The new fangled farkled website has less search options than the old one and truely ancient jobs are being posted on there. Admittedly it wasn't the best place to look for jobs but many online sites are not exactly great anyway.

    My search this morning I found jobs from 2008 being posted as recent...

    A cynic might suggest that this is purposeful to hide the lack of jobs around as my prior Manchester jobs searches usually garnered a single page of results before changing to locales such as London or Cornwall a bit far on the commute.

    But many of those jobs were fake CV harvesting jobs anyway...

    1. MinionZero
      Big Brother

      Nothing is really going to change.

      Even if 1700 websites changed into just 1 vast website with 1700 sub-sections its not really changing at all. So the exact number of websites is a meaningless figure. The sub-sections in government behind each web site or part of a web site will still remain. So they just want us to see change, but behind the superficial changes its the same sub-sections of government.

      - - - -

      Kenno: "Its a tad ironic that the job centre website was shut down and merged seeing that there is mass unemployment going on"

      According to Ministry of Plenty figures there has never been any unemployment. So the Ministry Of Truth has never needed a web site to talk about unemployment.

      Kenno: "The new fangled farkled website has less search options than the old one"

      The Ministry Of Truth website has not changed. Only in your mind has it changed. You need help. Repeat after me, 2 + 2 = 5

      Kenno: "A cynic might suggest that this is purposeful to hide the lack of jobs"

      Your lack of belief in Big Brother has been reported to the Thought Police and Room 101 is being prepared for your arrival.


    2. Alain Moran

      Beggars belief

      Manchester job-centre recently told a friend of mine that they "aren't there to help you find a job" :o

      I'm sorry, but what the chuff are they there for then?

  5. Richard 31

    Nothing gone

    Nothing has actually gone. Most of what is happening is all the sites are merging under portal sites like the site.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Accordian management....

    Expand ---->

    Contract <----

    Expand ---->



    Same old same old.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Keep shutting them down!

    Given that almost all public sector Web sites aren't compliant with RFC2822, it's about time these were shut down.

    Try entering an e-mail address containing an ampersand ("&") in the local part into any Government Web site, and see what I mean ("Please enter a valid e-mail address"). Of course, the restriction comes about because the proprietary "GovTalk" ( a bastardised version of Microsoft's BizTalk) has to block the ampersand character in input strings, because of Microsoft's horribly broken security - their software is particularly vulnerable to strings containing this character.

    The B&Q Web site is the same, a bit embarrassingly for them. But of course it's a perfectly legal character as far as the (open) standard RFC2822 is concerned. It's funny, corresponding with Government departments that tell you it can't be used in an e-mail address, when... errmmmm... they're emailing you using your e-mail address with an ampersand in it... :-)

  8. Andy Davies


    "non-departmental public bodies"

    sounds quaintly obscene - in a threatening sort of way ....

  9. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not just &'s

    Similar things happen with a lot of websites and + characters.

    Not to mention a seeming inability to comply with long-established government guidelines NOT to write for a specific browser.

    Ironically the uk gov pages explaining everything must be w3c standards compliant aren't w3c compliant themselves - and onwards.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Another irony

    is that after years of plugging the internet and with Suggs with his "it must be gov", why didn't they just do a website like most search engines and run it on one huge server? Still, referring to what Kenno states, searches on the JC+ site don't really woerk properly even if you do narrow the results down to a specific location. Up north when I look for a job, I get 'em in London. Too big a commute for me as well. If you actually go into a job centre, instead of the old printed cards, since 2000 we have new whizzy XP boxes with a flash interface. Hey presto, the same thing happens there too. Indeed, my sister looks for cleaning jobs and she turns up a pile of jobs for 1 hour, paying £10. Get a bus ticket to get there, poof, your tenner (and more) is gone. Anyway, Gordon has farmed out some of the JC+ stuff to Serco. Read it and weep. and click on the welfare section.

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