Council criticised for �800,000 website spend

A COUNCIL facing major budget cuts has been criticised after spending an eye-watering �800,000 of taxpayers’ money redesigning its website.

Essex County Council has been accused of “frittering cash away” on the overhaul of the website at the same time that dozens of workers fear their jobs will be axed to save money.

David Finch, cabinet member for finance and transformation, defended spending �800,000 saying it was “good value for money” and other companies had quoted them more for the work.

He said: “It will enable residents to find information more easily and access services more readily which will save the council and residents time and money.

“The cost of this work is approximately �800,000. This price was arrived at following a long tendering procedure and rigorous procurement process.

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“The council is committed to improving services for residents, and doing so in a way that achieves value for money.”

He said the new website, which will be in place this autumn, will enable to families living in Essex to pay bills online and apply for disability parking badges.

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Emma Boon, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: “This is a huge sum of money for Essex to spend on a website in a time of fiscal crisis, and it is not going to provide real, cashable savings.

“The council already has a site designed and built at the public’s expense, they shouldn’t spend more of our money doing it all over again.

“Essex residents have seen their council tax double in the last ten years, what they want now is for the council to stop frittering cash away and to give them real value for money- instead of tinkering around with a website and claiming that it is a saving.”

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