The government is to bring its 951 websites down to two sites to save money, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee was told last week.
All government websites, excluding 26 corporate departmental sites, will be merged into either Directgov or BusinessLink by 2011, a spokesmen for the Cabinet Office told the committee. It will take until 2011 to ensure that no valuable information is lost, the Public Accounts Committee heard.
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Alexis Cleveland, director general of Transformational Government, a programme to improve service delivery by increasing data sharing between departments, said it was not possible to say how much money the government might save.
She said it was "very difficult" to establish the costs of setting up the websites because they were distributed between capital and operational budgets. "We have no audit trail of costs and therefore cannot establish the savings," she said.
A National Audit Office report in July put the annual running cost of government websites at £208m - about 3.2% of central government IT spending. It agreed with earlier estimates that reducing the number of websites could save up to £400m.
Cleveland said that in the past government felt that every department needed its own website, but it was now guided by how the public supplies and looks for data.