Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How Many Civil Servants Does it Take to Write a Blog?

It seems there is costs the taxpayer even more than David Miliband's. Ladies and Gentleman I give you Mr Jim Murphy, Minister at the Department of Social Security. Here's a very revealing PQ from David Ruffley.

David Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform's blog has cost to administer in each month since its inception; what the budget for the blog is for 2007-08; and how many unique visitors to the blog there have been since May. [102066]

Jim Murphy: The Welfare Reform and Child Poverty blog was launched on the DWP internet site on 16 October 2006. Costs to develop and administer the blog were met from existing resources, and current staffing levels. Ongoing maintenance equates to half the time of one member of staff. From October to date this has cost £1,487 per month.At present no funding decisions have been made about the financial year 2007-08. Since it was launched it has attracted 1,987 unique visitors resulting in 4,731 visits

Now, if this blog has been up for three months, and is costing £1,487 per month, this means that the blog is costing over £2 per visitor. And the subject of the blog… Child Poverty! As Mr Littlejohn would say, 'you couldn't make it up'. If you look at the blog, in the last month, there have been just 4 posts (which read like press releases...). And they are paying half a member of staff to maintain it ?

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/pensionsreform/weblog/

If I tell you that I post on average between five and eight times a day and it takes me less than an hour a day, you will see why I'm bloody good value for money and the DWP is not!

17 comments:

Ian Thorpe said...

Well that will warrant a link from Machiavelli.
Nice to know Blair's wired government is getting about as many hits in six months as I get in a day.

Henry Mayhew said...

There's no doubt about that at all Iain.

Ben said...

Value for money despite the fact that you spend half your day on facebook!

Anonymous said...

It must take thought , imagination ,loads of cheek and twinkley fingers to run a blog ,I handn't the realised the goverment had trained monkeys to run their's

Benedict White said...

You? Good value for money?

I'd demand my money back Iain, but I don't pay anything for it!

Seriously it is also a lot of money per post as well as per visitor. What does the lackey do for the rest of those half days?

william norton said...

fire the rent-seeking parasite civil servant and hire three starving orphans?

David said...

I'm curious as to how a Blog with an average of 2-3 posts a month manages to take up half a working week to maintain.

I run 2 websites, both getting more hits a month than this one has had since its creation. To maintain them it takes me about half a day a week.

Curly said...

Value for money!

Stick to the real blogosphere folks, even the worst blogs can get that many uniques in a week, free of charge on a number of servers. Wonder if the Miliblogger has improved in value yet, he doesn't seem to merit much in the way of comments.

Perhaps the maintenance of blogs should be disallowed as part of a civil servant's employment contract.

Curly said...

Value for money!

Stick to the real blogosphere folks, even the worst blogs can get that many uniques in a week, free of charge on a number of servers. Wonder if the Miliblogger has improved in value yet, he doesn't seem to merit much in the way of comments.

Perhaps the maintenance of blogs should be disallowed as part of a civil servant's employment contract.

swift said...

If half the time of this staff member costs £1487 a month, that means that their salary is almost £3000 a month, or £36000 a year. £36000 of taxpayers' money every year to spend half their time doing a bit of blogging? God help us taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

A more interesting statistic would be to know how much dosh you would rake in if everyone of your visitors gave you a subsidy from the taxpayer of £2 - you could bill Gordon Brown under 'Improving voter engagement' or some such waffle.

Anonymous said...

i've heard of a blogging system that costs £0.00 a month, and apparently is largely error and content free. maybe the govt should take look.

raincoaster said...

C'mon people, be fair. Astroturf has always been expensive. (but maybe I should apply for that job anyway; I'm also an audible minority, since there can't be that many Canadian accents on staff)

Juvenal said...

Yes, it's a crap blog with few readers (although you've probably upped their readership significantly with this post Ian)

However, you seem to 'assume' a three month period for readership, but collection dates are not specified - can you tell us the date of the answer please (if not to justify your maths, at least to allow me to benchmark my own blog's performance!)

raincoaster said...

If you want benchmarks, why not just check them out on Technorati and Alexa? If they're not even registered (one suspects this is the case) then there's your benchmark right there: they are officially not really a blog at all. Perhaps they are only a mirage.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit harsh - they respond to your demands for politicians to blog and then when they do, noone reads them (in part because they arent able really to be as reactionnary/controversial as other bloggers).

This is why it ends up being £2 per blog visitor

PJ a different one said...

"This is a bit harsh - they respond to your demands for politicians to blog and then when they do, noone reads them"
I'm sorry, but has someone been encouraging elected politicians to blog? If they have it wasn't me.
The ones I've read have got to be the most boring, self serving claptrap on-line, (the fragrant) Wallstrom of the EU taking the biscuit in all departments on this - although strictly speaking she's not elected, just foisted on us.
The Miliblog runs a good second.
It tends to be like reading a blog created by the PR dept of Armitage Shanks. Very glossy but when you get down to it full of sh...ortcomings.

Further to the pub stings: I'm not so sure that it is necessarily plod who put up the bait. I've a feeling the local council have a hand in it. I know they mastermind things like shopkeepers selling fags,knives & glue to kiddies which I believe comes under trading standards.
That said, we had a problem with a local patellerie selling booze with the morning papers - or at any other time between 7am & midnight. This meant that we had every alky from miles around wobbling along for their breakfast. Opening your front door on a heap of old clothes clutching a can of special brew in one paw & pissing thru your letterbox is not a good way to start a Sunday morning so it was reported to the police. I was later confidentially told that they objected to his licence renewal but the objection was over-ruled on the basis that the offy was the proprietor's main livelihood.