Northern Ireland

NI government websites cost £5.5m over three years

Government departments in Northern Ireland spent more than £5.5m on websites in the last three financial years, it has emerged.

Websites for nine departments last year cost £1,896,443.

The figures were given in an assembly answer to UUP MLA Sam Gardiner.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment had the biggest website spend last year with £626,420, while the Department of Education was the lowest at £5,000.

In June, Cabinet Minister Francis Maude said the government would review all 820 of its websites.

It followed a Central Office of Information report which revealed that the government spent £94m on website development and running costs and £32m on web staff in 2009 - 2010.

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first minister told Mr Gardiner that the Northern Ireland Civil Service's web presence was being consolidated through measures similar to those under way in Great Britain.

It is planned that the information on several websites will be brought under the remit of NI Direct, which they described as "the main government site for citizens".

"The consolidation of government websites will lead to a marked reduction in website numbers - from 90 to approximately 25 and eventually a saving in the resources required to manage government websites," they said.

"The completion of the consolidation project will further enhance the position of NI Direct as the key government channel for online citizen information."

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