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Departmental Websites

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many websites there are within his responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. (79059)

DEFRA directly operates a number of websites, including the main DEFRA website ( and the Government’s sustainable development website (www.sustainable-development.

Direct operating costs—the staff costs for the central team with lead responsibility for updating and maintaining websites and for website policy—are estimated to be around £352,000 for the last financial year. Additional costs arise from the activities of a large number of staff in business units across the Department, contributing to the content of websites as part of their communications activities, but an overall cost for this could not be readily estimated. Website hosting services—as well as a range of IT applications—are provided as part of DEFRA’s overall IT service provision and the costs could not be readily disaggregated.

A number of other websites are operated by or on behalf of the Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies, for which costs are either covered by the budgets for specific programmes (and not separately identified), or included within the above figures. Detailed information is not currently held centrally for such websites, and could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.