Birmingham City Council website goes live at last
The long-awaited Birmingham City Council website has finally gone live - three years late and at a cost of £2.8 million.
The site, which was built by the council’s private sector partners Capita, was originally scheduled for completion in March 2006 and was projected to cost £580,000 according to the initial estimate.
But last month the council was forced to reveal the spiralling cost of the website by a Freedom of Information request made via the website www.helpmeinvestigate.com.
The FoI reply makes it clear that the scale of the work needed was underestimated and some costs, including training, system testing and external testing, were not originally included.
The council has voiced fears in the past that the website would be the subject of ridicule if there were any "glitches" when it went live, a worry which appeared confirmed by comments posted by Birmingham's web community on the networking website Twitter.
Among the comments, one Twitter user Jake Grimley, managing director of web firm Made Media, said: "£2.8m and it still looks like they got a guy in a broom-cupboard to knock it up with an outdated copy of Dreamweaver. Sadly no surprises."
Glyn Evans, director of business transformation at the council, described the new website as a vast improvement.
Mr Evans, who has overall responsibility for the £2.8 million project, said he wasn't interested in adverse comments on Twitter.
Mr Evans said: "We have tried to design a site that is suitable for the majority of our residents. We are not designing it for the Twitterati."
Commenting on the absence of a link to the democracy in Birmingham section, making it difficult to access details of council meetings or agendas, Mr Evans said: "How many of our residents are actually interested in council meetings?"
Mr Evans insisted the new site was faster and easier to use with a superior search facility.
The website is at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk.
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