29 April 2008 | Paul Snell
Over a quarter of government departments have no idea what their websites cost, making it impossible to know if they are value for money.
A report into government sites by the public accounts committee has also discovered that despite services delivered to the public online are cheaper than traditional methods, it is not known how much is being saved, or whether savings are improving future services.
"The government's enthusiastic embrace of this new world of web-delivered services is not matched by a commensurate level of understanding of what it is achieving through its websites, how effective they are or whether they represent value for money," said Edward Leigh MP, committee chairman.
The government spends £208 million a year on delivering services through its websites, but the committee found a lack of progress in implementing recommendations from five years ago.
The committee recommended a plan for identifying costs should be drawn up by the end of the next financial year, and an analysis of the costs should appear in the annual report on transformational government.